Emergency services rush to the scene as flames reach the roof of the government building

The building of the national assembly in Cape Town, South Africa caught fire on Sunday morning, with flames and black smoke seen from far away.

Flames have been spreading in the building from the fire, which started around 5am, local media reports, citing officials. It has spread to the roof, according to mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

The official said the blaze is so bad there already are “reports of cracks in some walls.” Dozens of firefighters who initially rushed to the scene requested more resources.

“The bitumen on the roof is even melting, an indication of the intense heat,” the spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, Jermaine Carelse, told local News24. He also said there are fears the building could fall.

“There have been reports of some walls showing cracks, which could indicate a collapse,” Carelse said.

It is believed that the fire started in an office on the third floor.

The original building of the Houses of Parliament of South Africa dates back to the end of the 19th century. There are also two additional sections, the newest of which was built in the 1980s.

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