Tehran building collapse: Pray for firefighters

January 20, 2017

TEHRAN — Plasco building, a shopping center in downtown Tehran, collapsed at Thursday noon after a huge blaze, leaving dozens injured, missing, and dead.

The 17-storey building turned into piles of rubble within seconds after fighting the blaze for more than three hours.

Flames of fire which seemed to be under control at the beginning eventually led to the building’s sudden collapse and unfortunately a number of firefighters, salespersons and other people got trapped in the rubble.

Plasco is a commercial building survived from 1960s with some 600 shopping centers and clothing workshops filled with stacks of clothes which are believed to intensify the fire.

Apparently the building wasn’t equipped with proper fire alarms, fire controlling systems, and safety provisions. Despite repeated warnings issued by fire department it was still operating.

According to the Emergency Medical Services director, Pir-Hossein Kulivand, so far some 51 victims have received outpatient care and 33 hospitalized, of them 28 were discharged.

“Sadly one of the firefighters, Behnam Mirzakhani, who suffered burns up to 60 percent of his body passed away on Friday at the hospital,” Kulivand regretted.

In spite of long ongoing rescue operations the rescue forces and fire fighters have not succeeded in rescuing or finding the missing firefighters yet.

Pictures of shocked firefighters mourning their colleagues after the massive collapse has gone viral on social media and people offer their heartfelt condolences to them and saluting their outstanding bravery.

Tehran City Council member Eqbal Shakeri explained that the fire is still blazing in various parts due to the gasoline widely spreading throughout the huge piles of rubble.

Shakeri went on to say that “the rescue forces are tunneling from the adjacent buildings and have found out where the missing firefighters or people might be.”

The large heap of rubble and thick smoke have made it pretty time consuming and difficult to clear away the debris and searching through it.

Three hours after the fire broke out in Plasco building the whole 17-storey building fell down and tuned into a huge pile of rubble.

A picture of Plasco building taken in 1964. Built in 1962, the building used to be one of the tallest one in its time which was later dwarfed by other buildings constructed in the capital.

The fire first started on one of the upper floors of the building at about 8 a.m. and soon engulfed other floors. The fire department soon attended the scene and attempted to put out the fire.

Massive crowds of people thronged around the building and despite police efforts to disperse them the crowd swelled minute by minute.

Rescue and relief forces are offering rescue services to those who suffered injuries at the scene.

Families of firefighters and those others who have gone missing after the building collapse are desperately worried.

People are waiting in long queues to donate blood for those who are wounded at the building collapse.

The rescue operation lasted all through the night and all rescue and emergency services, firefighters, along with officials attended the scene.

People gathered at a fire station in Tehran and light candles to sympathize with firefighters and their families.

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