/ 1 January 2008

Man starts fire in Rosebank building

A man was arrested in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on Monday after spreading petrol in his room in a building inhabited by squatters and setting it alight.

The fire in the abandoned building along Jellico Road in Rosebank was being extinguished by fire-fighters on Monday evening.

Police spokesperson Inspector Malose Boshiana said the man fought with friends and then and set his room alight.

”He was arrested and faces charges of arson,” Boshiana said.

Residents of the building told the South African Press Association they had lost all their possessions.

Mike Tsolo said he lost everything in the blaze as he had no time to remove his possessions.

”He was drunk, he just went inside, poured petrol, and set the thing alight,” he said.

Another said: ”I have no place anymore to stay. I have lost everything.”

As police removed the man who started the fire into a police van, 12 residents gathered, shouting angrily at him.

Police placed a plastic bag over the man’s head as people on the scene shouted that he was HIV-positive, and spat at the police removing him. — Sapa