Tehran skyscraper collapse kills more than 20 firefighters

Firefighters battle a blaze that engulfed Iran's oldest high-rise, the 15-storey Plasco building in downtown Tehran on January 19, 2017.
State television said 200 firefighters had been called to the scene and 38 had already been injured battling the blaze before it fell. / AFP / STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 20 firefighers are believed to have died following the collapse of Iran’s first private high-rise building.

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Emergency workers have dug tunnels into the wreckage of  the Plasco building in downtown Tehran in their search for survivors and bodies


They have not yet found any of the firefighters believed to be buried under the rubble, Iran’s fire chief told the official Islamic Republic of Iran News Networt (IRNN).

The YouTube clip below captures the fall of the tower after being engulfed in flames: 


The two tunnels lead from adjacent buildings into the collapsed 17-story building, IRINN reported. The huge size of the site makes reaching the trapped firefighters very difficult, the station said.

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“More than 20 of our colleagues in the fire department have lost their lives while trying to save the people in the fire,” Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf told IRNN.

The cause of the fire and collapse is being investigated, he added.

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Housing garment manufacturers and other businesses, the Plasco building was one of Tehran’s oldest high-rises and a feature of the city’s skyline.

The commercial building’s dramatic collapse on live TV came after a fire raged for hours through its upper floors.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said all necessary measures had been taken to secure the German, Turkish and British embassies nearby.

Located on Jomhouri Avenue in central Tehran, the Plasco building was constructed in 1962. It was named after a successful plastics business, Plascokar.

All images courtesy of STR/AFP/Getty Images.

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