Tehran building collapse: Many feared dead

  • 20/01/2017

More than 20 firefighters are feared dead after a 17-storey building in Iran's capital collapsed on top of them as they fought a blaze.

"At least 20 firefighters who were trapped under rubble have died," Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said. "They are martyrs. They lost their lives when trying to help people."

Rescue workers and dogs are searching the rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise.

The Plasco building crashed down in a cloud of dust, which one witness described as "like a horror movie".

At least 78 people, including 45 firefighters, were injured, Iran's state TV said.

Tehran Fire Department spokesman Jalal Maleki told local media the building collapsed vertically.

"That is why adjacent buildings were not damaged."

Local media are reporting an electrical fault started the fire, and President Hassan Rouhani has ordered an immediate investigation.

The building was constructed in 1962 and was once the tallest in the city.