20 firefighters confirmed dead so far: Ghalibaf

TEHRAN, Jan. 19 (MNA) – A 17-storey building of textile company Plasco has totally collapsed after a conflagration consumed all storeys beginning 8:00 AM local time.

The blaze was almost uncontrollable and Tehran’s 10 firefighter centers’ staff failed to quench the fire. Around 11:35 local time, 17-storey building collapsed with dust covering the much-busy area of Jumhouri St., just in the vicinity of Tehran Great Bazaar.

That part of the Jumhouri Street had been center for many many textile small shops, with the building itself a textile giant in the area. Authorities say the conflagration started in the 9th story and consummated the whole building. No figures have still been given for possible casualties yet. Police recommends citizens to stay in a safe distant from the incident area.

the building has collapsed almost vertically and the surrounding buildings have remained intact.

37 firefighters had been bussy on the place. 7 firefighters had been treated in the hospital for their minor injuries.

Some buildings have sustained damage. Influx of people to the area was under control by the police.

The area should be cleared and citizens should listen to police alerts, police said.

The northern wall of the building collapsed first; much of the damage is ascribed to this initial collapse.

Plastic material, highly inflammable as it is, made difficult extinguishing fire in its early stages, which had started from the seconf floor according to reports.

Plasco was one of the oldest buildings in the busy area of Tehran. Police told IRIB that it was estimated that the building was 50-years-old.

The rubble is now being investigated by firefighters to find possible victims.

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the Mayor of Tehran, has apprared in the area to supervise over the operation.

More than 30 firefighters and people were injured; 7 of them were carried to hospital for treatment. Others had only minor injuries.

Police has a general petition that citizens should not rush into the area so that firefighters and authorities carry out the necessary rescue operations.

Traffic flow to the area have been blocked, Col. Hassan Abedi, deputy traffic police chief of Greater Tehran was speaking to IRIB's IRNN.

38 firefighters were injured and 30 citizens were injured. 

Iran Army Ground Forces are dispatched to the location to help the rescue operation.

30 firefighters are missing and rescue operation continues.

According to Tehran Emergency Center, 70 people have been injured in the collapse of the building. No body has been discovered yet.

"23-35 firefighters are still under the debris; their efforts are commendable, since within 2 minutes, they had been immediately in the area," said Ghalibaf.

"Firefighters had timely evacuated the building," he added.

IRGC, Army units have participated in the rescue operations. No verified reprots on the possible number of victims had been announced yet.

Frist VP Jahangiri and Minister of Health Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi are now visiting the area.

"Plasco Building Board of Directors had recieved warnings that the building would have been highly easily damaged if unpredictable incident had happened,' Ghalibaf said at the City Council urgent meeting.

Greater Tehran Police Chief Brig. Gen. Hossein Sajedi said search dogs and facilities are now working to find possible victims under the rubble. Two police officers reportedly injured.

Tehran deputy-government announced that blaze was quite natural and due to an electric shock. He also rejected that gas leaking and other versions of the story.

A white smoke arises from the rubble. It is possible that fire still rages under the debris and would burn down the surrounding buildings as well.

Firefighters are working to control the incipient blaze from the rubble which is feared to set alight other buildings.

6 people rescued from under rubble according to a member of Tehran City Council. They are alive. 

Similar buildings in Tehran's busy trade center Jumhouri Street have recieved warnings by Municipality authorities that they should take measures to rebuild or strengthen the buildings. An old quarter, Jumhouri Street is home to many industrial buildings well above 50 years in age.

Foriegn embassies in the famous Istanbul Crossroad where Plasco building was located have reportedly been closed fearing the fire.

Most notable is British embassy which was closed after building collapsed.

Tehran provincial Governor Hossein Fereidoun told reporters visiting the site that possible perpetrators should be identified and tried in the court.

Municipality staff are now working on clearing the huge rubble mass.

Tehran's Mayor Ghalibaf confirmed death of 20 firefighters while talking to IRIB.

Officials in the governorate and municipality have rule out the terrorist attack in Plasco collapse.

Tehran Firefighting Department spokesperson told reporters that about 20 firefighters had bee trapped under the rubble and no one had been rescued so far.

Rescue dogs finally found way into the debris from the northeastern dimension of the site.

2 bodies were discoverd from under the debris. Research continues for trapped victims.

Ghalibaf told reporters that the intense heat in the 8th storey of the building would have burned the steel structure; steel is highly flexible when it becomes subject to heat near its melting point; "the resulting weight due to collapse of the steel structure contributed to the staggering weight of the whole rubble which was almost out of the tolerance shreshold of the lower stories," he detailed.

SH

News Code 122843

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    • Korey CA 20:25 - 2017/01/19
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      Heroic effort on the part of the rescuers. My sympathies to all the victims