South Africa: Massive fire engulfs historic Durban mosque - 9japarrot


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Monday 24 August 2020

South Africa: Massive fire engulfs historic Durban mosque

The cause of the fire was not immediately known and there were no injuries reported [File: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP]

Huge fire breaks out in 139-year-old Grey Street Mosque in the southeastern port city of Durban.

A massive blaze has engulfed a 139-year-old mosque in the South African city of Durban.

The cause of the fire on Monday at the Grey Street Mosque, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, was not immediately known.

But Faisal Suliman, chairman of the South African Muslim Network, said it was believed to have started in one of seven staff flats located above the mosque and may have been caused by an electrical fault.

"It's presumed to have been accidental, and not to have been any foul play," Suliman told AFP news agency.

There were no reports of casualties.

Videos posted on Twitter showed crowds gathered as curtains of flames raged through the top floor of the two-storey building in the central business district of the southeastern port city.

Several people took to social media to express sadness about the fire at the historic structure, which can accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers.

Firefighters managed to bring the fire under control in about two hours.

Emergency services spokesman Robert Mckenzie told AFP the blaze also damaged three adjacent buildings.

The mosque is a landmark of central Durban and a well-attended house of worship.

As well as hosting Friday prayers, it has been visited by prominent figures including anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, British singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, and boxing superstar Muhammad Ali.

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