More than 30 firefighters are feared dead after a high-rise building in the Iranian capital city of Tehran collapsed after it caught fire. According to Russia Today, the building, one of the oldest high rise structures in Iran was known as the Plasco Building. There were initial reports that 37 people were trapped in the fire that had engulfed the seventeen story building. However, the fire was to metamorphize into another tragedy. According to reports, many of the firefighters had reached the building to start rescue operations to help people trapped in the building. Meanwhile, dramatic footage showing the Plasco building on fire and the subsequent collapse have been uploaded to video sharing websites.
We have embedded a few videos below.
An earlier video that showed the building on fire.
It remains unclear as to how many people were inside the building when it caught fire. An official from the local government said that he estimates more than 100 people to be trapped underneath the rubble of the now collapsed structure.
Several images, said to be of the crash site were posted on social media websites following the incident.
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A photo of the building when it was still standing.
— Ozan Özen (@ozanozen) January 19, 2017
Tehran fire: Plasco building collapses, 30 feared dead อายุอาคารประมาณ 55 ปี ตรวจสอบในอาคารไม่มีอุปกรณ์ดับเพลิง https://t.co/yhYHD4enje
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Located in an upscale location in Tehran city, the Plasco building had a shopping center on the ground floor while the upper floors were a mixture of offices and residential blocks. The building is located right next to the Turkish and the UK Embassies – both of which were evacuated after the building caught fire. Local police officials have cordoned off the area and as this report is filed, more rescue personnel have been sent to the spot.
According to local news channels, the building took only a few minutes to collapse. Earlier, a plume of smoke was seen on the horizon as flames engulfed the structure. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. However, there are reports that the building was in violation of several building codes and that it had received several warnings from local authorities owing to poor maintenance and lack of safety equipment. This was confirmed by Fire Department spokesman Jalal Maleki who was quoted speaking to the AFP
“We had repeatedly warned the building managers about the lack of safety of the building. Even in the stairwells, a lot of clothing is stored and this is against safety standards. The managers didn’t pay attention to the warnings,” he said.
The Plasco building was one of the first highrises to be built in Tehran and was built by Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian back in the 1960s. The name of the building was also the name of his plastics manufacturing company. It was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction. Habib was accused of espionage in the years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and was tried in a court which sentenced him to death.He was subsequently executed.
[Featured image by Vahid Salemi/AP Images]