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