PayvandNews – A massive fire erupted on Thursday in a mega mall in downtown Tehran, the city’s most populous area, bringing the whole the 17-story building down. Thirty firefighters have lost their lives, according to IRIB. Death toll is expected to rise. More than 100 people are estimated to have been trapped under rubble.
Other resources said one reporter and one photographer have lost their lives, as well.
Seventy people have been taken to hospital, according to the latest reports.
“Fire was under control until part of the building collapsed, injecting more oxygen into the space,” a spokesman with Tehran firefighting organization said.
More than 2,000 firefighters have voluntarily announced preparation to join the mission.
Reportedly, a gas tanker has gotten fired, probably to increasing temperature in the area, according to Mizan new agency.
Crowds of people have made rescue operation difficult.
The fire at Plasko Shopping Center, close to Ferdowsi Square, begun at 8th and 9th floors at 7:30 a.m. and quickly took other floors due to inflammatory material.
More than 200 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze, some trapped inside as the building collapsed.
Initial efforts failed to bring the blaze under control.
Ambulances were around and searches were going on for those trapped inside.
Police has cordoned off an area surrounding the site, warning that gas leak may cause more fire.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a potential presidential candidate for the 2017 election, has arrived at the site.
Embassies of Russia, England, Turkey, and Germany are within a close proximity of the inflicted area.
Embassy staff are safe and have been evacuated, according to a security official.
Army units have been dispatched to the area.
The 53-year-old building was one of the oldest shopping centers in Tehran, home to a hundreds of boutiques.