Pope prays for victims of deadly Johannesburg fire

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Pope Francis on Wednesday offered his prayers for victims of the fire in Johannesburg, that killed over 70 people.

The pontiff’s words came after a fire engulfed a five-storey apartment block on Thursday last week.

The building was gutted, blackened by soot and still smoldering the next day when bodies lay covered in blankets on a nearby street.

The building is linked to apartheid-era South Africa, as it was where Black South Africans collected their “dompas” or passbook documents that would enable them to work in white-owned areas of the city.

“It was with deep sorrow that I learned of the fire that broke out in a five-storey building in the city centre of Johannesburg in South Africa in which more than 70 people died, including several children. I invite you to join me in praying for the victims. To the family members, I express my deep condolences and I send a special blessing for them and for those who are working to provide assistance and support,” said the pope.