Collapse of Tehran high-rise on fire kills 30 firefighters

Miranda GreerЯнв 22, 2017

An Iranian firefighter walks amidst the debris of Iran's oldest high-rise, the 15-storey Plasco building in downtown Tehran on January 19, 2017.

Iranian state television reports at least 30 people have died and dozens were injured. The high-rise building engulfed by a fire collapsed on Thursday as scores of firefighters battled the blaze. According to Russia Today, the building, one of the oldest high rise structures in Iran was known as the Plasco Building.

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

The disaster struck the Plasco building, an iconic structure in central Tehran just north of the capital's sprawling bazaar.

When the building finally collapsed without warning large plumes of brown dust was sent into the sky. Onlookers wailed in grief.

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" 'Firefighters went inside to bring them out, and then suddenly the building collapsed, ' Hosseini said".

"The flames could be seen kilometres away from the old building ... but most of the residents and shopkeepers in the building have been evacuated", the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Soroush Farzin-Moghadam, an engineering professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the USA state of MA, told VOA Persian's Newshour program that Iranian authorities typically attempt to update building codes when a disaster happens.

It was built by Habibollah Elghanian, a prominent Jewish-Iranian businessman who was arrested on charges of being an Israeli spy and executed in 1979 during the Islamic revolution. At the time of its construction tt was the tallest building in the city. It wasn't immediately clear if the mall was damaged.

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