A fast-moving blaze ripped through an old garment building in Tehran early Thursday, leveling down to the ground the more than half-a-century-old building in an unprecedented incident in the Iranian capital.
The fire started at around 8 am local time (0430 GMT) at the building, Plasco, which is home to hundreds of clothes and garment manufacturers and businesses, and large flames spiraled up from the building which could be seen from miles away.
A videographer on the scene said he could feel the heat about 40 meters away.
The fire came under control for minutes, but a sudden burst set half of the high-rise ablaze. Less than an hour later all stories went on fire, melting the steel structure. The building collapse during a live broadcast by the state-run TV at 11:32 am (0802GMT).
Most people had been evacuated from the building, as tens of firefighters and rescue workers rushed into the building to put out the fire whose lives are at risk and a source of deep concern now.
Spokesman for Tehran's medical emergencies department said that nearly 70 people, including firefighters, were injured, adding that 23 have been transferred to nearby hospitals due to serious injuries.
Meantime, other sources told FNA that some 30 fighterfighters have most likely been killed in the incident so far, while the death toll is much likely to rise as 300 people were trapped in the building when it fell apart.
Reports said tens of fighterfighters and business owners have been caught under the rubbles of the 17-storey building which was built 53 years ago.
The fire had started from the 9th floor, according to authorities.
Source: Fars News