Tragedy in Tehran

Iran’s government declared a day of national mourning in commemoration of the firemen killed in a Thursday collapse of a blazing high-rise building in downtown Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet declared Saturday, January 21, a day of national mourning in the wake of firefighters’ deaths in the tragic incident.

More than 20 firefighters are feared dead in the incident, but rescue teams are still searching for those trapped under the rubble.

On Friday morning, a firefighter who had been admitted to hospital with serious burns succumbed to his injuries.

According to Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, between 20 to 25 people are believed to have been trapped under the rubble.

Top stories of the Plasco building in the heart of Tehran caught fire at around 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, and the whole building crumpled to the ground four hours later.

Firefighters, soldiers and other emergency responders dug through the debris into the night, looking for survivors. It is not clear how many people were in the steel-and-concrete building when it collapsed.

Authorities say they had repeatedly warned tenants about blocking stairwells with fabric from cramped garment workshops on its upper floors.

The 17-story structure was inaugurated in 1962 and named after a plastics manufacturing company. It was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction. It included shopping centers and clothing workshops.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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