Scare as lodge catches fire

RESIDENTS of a high-rise hotel on Durban's Victoria Embankment had to be evacuated after a fire broke out yesterday.

The second floor of Westpoint Lodge in Hermitage Passage went up in smoke at noon. Firefighters battled the blaze for nearly an hour.

But barely two hours after the blaze, residents huddled back into their flats to escape the chilly weather that has gripped the province.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks said it was "unclear" what started the blaze that caused much damage. But "luckily, there were no injuries".

Metro fire department divisional commander Alfred Newman said they suspected the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

"Though the fire was confined to one room, the adjoining open doors were also engulfed in smoke," Newman said.

"The smoke even moved up the lift shaft. That is why it appeared as if the entire building was on fire."

Eyewitness Joyce Khanyesi told Sowetan minutes after the blaze was extinguished that she was "very lucky to be alive". - Corrinne Louw