Sat. national day of mourning, no hope for any survivors

TEHRAN, Jan. 20 (MNA) – While rescue missions at Plasco building are underway since Thu., EMS head said Fri. a severely injured firefighter has died at hospital and no bodies or trapped injured have yet been recovered from the caved-in building.

On Friday morning, Head of Policy Council for Friday Prayers' Leaders Hojjatoleslam Taghavi, on behalf of Leader of the Islamic Revolution, visited injured firefighters admitted at two hospitals and extended the greetings and prayers of Ayatollah Khamenei for the fast recovery of these devoted and self-giving people.

According to Head of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Behnam Mirzakhani, one of the firefighters who had been admitted to Motahhari Hospital on Thursday, was martyred despite all efforts on the part of the medical team and repeated resuscitation.

Interior Minister, Rahmani Fazli, said Friday that two tunnels have been drilled at two sides of the Plasco building to rescue the trapped people but so far it has yielded no result. “We may witness more explosions and fire is still raging under the debris,” he said.

Head of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Pir Hossein Kolivand told Mehr News that rescue operations have gone underway since Thursday night and bulldozers are trying to make a way inside from the north side, but so far there has been no access to the trapped firefighters under the rubble; “no injured or bodies have been found yet,” he added. 

A total of 84 people were injured with only two of those, Fakhreddin Goudarzi and Amir Mahdiani, were hospitalized, added Kolivand.

Workers were digging several tunnels from buildings next door to reach the basement of the collapsed building. Teams of rescue dogs were at the site, too, said Saeed Sharifizadegan, head of Tehran's fire department.

Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari said police officers have the area under their control from the very first moments of the incident and no security issue has been reported at the scene.

Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said the Army has voiced readiness for helping with removing debris at the site of collapse; “We are ready to provide rescue workers with all our cutting and engineering machines. The Army’s military police will also join the rescue operations once the need is voiced by the law enforcement,” he said, adding “12 Army hospitals are ready to admit the injured.”

Governor of Tehran, Isa Farhadi, maintained that while there is no accurate information about the number of trapped under the debris, it is assumed that the number will not rise over 25 people.

According to Head of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), of 84 injured, only two of them remain hospitalized. One of the firefighters, Behnam Mirzakhani, died at the hospital Friday morning due to severe injuries. 
A spokesman for Plasco crisis management HQ said the conditions under the debris are critical and there is almost no hope for any survivors. 

Government Cabinet has declared Saturday, January 21, a day of national mourning over the martyrdom of devoted, self-giving firefighters who lost their lives while trying to rescue people from the blazing high-rise Plasco building. The statement has called on Iranian nation to pay worthy gratitude and respect to the deceased firefighters.

Commander of Tehran Police Force Brigadier General Hossein Sajedinia dismissed the rumors that 25 families (excluding those of firefighters) have reported a missing person following the collapse of Plasco building which trapped as many as 20 firefighters and likely a number of workers there, saying “only two families have so far reported a missing person.”

City Council of Tehran member Eghbal Shakeri said the removal of debris will take a couple of days. "Prolongation of debris removal is because we deal here with a steel structure that has fell from 17 floors to 3 floors; the steel is thoroughly melted and stuck together."

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