High-Rise Building In Tehran Collapses In Fire

Tracy FergusonJan 21, 2017

A high-rise building in Tehran, Iran engulfed by a fire collapsed on Thursday as scores of firefighters battled the blaze. Iran's state-run Press TV said dozens of firefighters were killed, more than 20 remain missing, and an unknown number of civilians may be trapped under the rubble, though most are thought to have escaped.

The building collapsed three hours later, in images broadcast live on Iranian television.

The Fars news agency, quoting an unnamed source, reported that 30 firefighters were feared to have died in the blaze and ensuing collapse.

Firefighters and business owners are believed to be trapped underneath rubble, officials said. Onlookers wailed in grief.

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In a nearby intersection, Abbas Nikkhoo stood with tears in his eyes.

But Tehran Fire Department spokesman Jalal Maleki told the broadcaster: "I can not confirm the death of around 20 firefighters".

The Plasco building was located in central Tehran near the capital's sprawling bazaar and British embassy.

"But there's a double standard when it comes to implementation", said Farzin-Moghadam, who studied architecture and building technology in Tehran and has worked on residential complexes and airports.

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Search dogs were looking for survivors, and the rescue operation could last for more than two days, Reuters says, citing Iranian state TV.

It is said that, as a safety measure, residents and employees of many surrounding buildings have been asked by the authorities to evacuate. A side of the building came down first, tumbling perilously close to a firefighter perched on a ladder and spraying water on the blaze.

At the time of its construction the Plasco was the tallest building on the city's skyline. Reports suggest that most of those hospitalised have already been discharged.

The tower is attached to a multi-story shopping mall featuring a sky-lit atrium and a series of turquoise-coloured fountains.

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