By Annisa Essack
One of Joburg’s most famous street food eateries for over six decades went up in flames on Tuesday night. Solly’s Corner has been closed indefinitely after the iconic eatery went up in flames on Tuesday evening.
At approximately 19:00 Wednesday, fire and rescue teams were deployed to the Corner of Bree and Central Road in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, after eyewitnesses saw plumes of smoke emanating from the popular hangout.
Private security firm Vision Tactical’s medical response units were on the scene. In an interview with Radio Islam International, the media team of Vision Tactical, Mohamed Varachia, said that there were multiple fire reports in Fordsburg, and a tactical medical unit was dispatched to investigate.
“Subsequently, Solly’s Corner was on fire, and we dispatched our tactical medical team to investigate further,”
He added that no flames were apparent on arrival in the shop, and the apartments above the store were evacuated.
Varachia confirmed that no injuries were reported except for a few patients treated for smoke inhalation on the scene.
“Alhamdulillah, there were no injuries reported on the scene. We just treated some patients for minor smoke inhalation, but other than that, it was all we received from our paramedics.”
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In a statement from Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza said that the Johannesburg Central Police have opened an arson docket. She added that there was damage to fridges, counters, and walls.
City of Johannesburg’s fire and rescue spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi, said that no information on the cause of the fire had been found yet, and foul play has yet to be established.
“At this stage, the cause of the fire incident is still a subject of investigations,” he said.
Solly’s Corner, established in 1957 by Khadija Akhalwaya, is a fourth-generation family business that started opposite the Oriental Plaza catering to the Indian and Pakistani communities in the district before moving to the current premises on Bree Street.
As the business evolved, it relocated to the high-traffic streets of Fordsburg, where it became an integral part of central Joburg’s nightlife. Solly’s Corner was the ideal place to savour South African street food, of “slap” chips with masala, polony and frikkadels, even earning itself a short mention on the Lonely Planet website.