Safety concerns at SABC after fire

2012-06-15 07:27
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – Major questions are being raised about the safety of the Henley Studios complex at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters following a devastating fire on Wednesday, with the department of labour ordering the studio sealed.

The devastating fire raged out of control for more than three hours late on Wednesday and destroyed the Isidingo set.

A section of the old building is now sealed after the department of labour issued an urgent order on Thursday.

Henley Studios was locked

Fire fighters were still at the SABC's Studio 6 on Thursday where some were overcame by smoke inhalation as they battled the blaze that incinerated the Isidingo set and caused tens of millions of rands of damage.

Henley Studios was locked as the Isidingo set went up in flames, and it took the SABC precious time to unlock the studio facilities while the fire raged out-of-control.

Labour inspectors on Thursday issued the SABC with a prohibition order barring anyone from entering the torched studio area.

Smoke kept rising from the roof on Thursday after equipment, cabling and sets burnt when the SABC's fire extinguisher system proved ineffective to put out the fire.

Internal inquiry

It's the biggest disaster and fire which have gutted the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters since the formation of South Africa's public broadcaster and has now sparked questions about safety at the broadcasting corporation.

Isidingo is produced by Endemol South Africa which made no statement to the South African TV industry on Thursday and declined to comment.

SABC3, the channel which shows Isidingo, also made no statement on Thursday to viewers despite requests.

The SABC has launched an internal inquiry into the fire and its cause which has affected the production of both SABC1's Generations soap and SABC2's Muvhango soap moving forward, and which took SABC3 off the air for a while on Wednesday night.