March 24, 2017

At least 30 killed as Tehran's iconic Plasco building collapses after fire

21 January 2017, 12:35 | Ella Tate

At least 25 people were injured in the collapse

Tehran collapse

The Plasco building is a very old building in southern Tehran. In the morning the whole country had experienced the trauma of watching the collapse live on state television.

The mayor said at least 20 firefighters were killed as they tried to put out the inferno. "They are martyrs. They lost their lives when trying to help people".

Mehr quoted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as expressing deep sorrow for the collapse and saying "all efforts should focus on saving the firefighters trapped in the site". State TV said the death toll might increase.

The blaze began hours earlier. The rescue operation still continues.

Iran's Fars news agency reported that the majority of shop owners and residents in the Plasco had been successfully evacuated before the collapse.

Around 75 more are reported injured and hospitalised in the initial blaze, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency. It said one of the first firefighters to be reached had demanded to be let back inside to save his colleagues. The high-rise building was engulfed by a fire then collapsed on Thursday as scores of firefighters battled the blaze.

Dramatic footage showed the iconic structure collapsing in on itself in just a few seconds, taking out three fire trucks as it fell.

Sniffer dogs searched for signs of survivors buried under giant slabs of concrete and heaps of twisted metal. "It is mostly a commercial building", state TV said.

Over 200 people injured during the fire have been transferred to health centers, and all hospitals in Tehran are reportedly on alert.

Tasnim said it "had caught fire in the past". The building lacked fire extinguishers. "The managers didn't pay attention to the warnings", he added. "That is why adjacent buildings were not damaged".

"I visited the building because my cousin had a T-shirt production line there", Manzarpour said.

Police had blocked off streets around the building, which was among the first high-rises built in the Iranian capital.

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