Tehran's Iconic Plasco Building Collapses After Fire: Iran State Media

The 17-story Plasco building, once the tallest in Iran, fell while firefighters were actively battling the blaze.

Crowds watch as the Plasco building is engulfed by a fire, in central Tehran, Iran, Jan. 19, 2017.

The fire broke out on this morning around 8am local time at the Plasco building, built over 50 years ago and among the first high rises to be built in the Iranian capital.

In the images broadcast on state television one side of the building started tumbling first almost knocking one firefighter off a ladder as he contended with the flames. Iranian media said the fire spread quickly through the building, which housed hundreds of clothing and garment manufacturers and highly flammable textiles. Iran's state-run Press TV said dozens of firefighters were killed, more than 20 remain missing, and an unknown number of civilians may be trapped under the rubble, though most are thought to have escaped. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

A fire department spokesperson told state TV that the building's tenants "had been warned repeatedly in the past months by the municipality to evacuate the building because of safety concerns".

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"I do not know where they are now", Ms Kazemi said, crying.

Manzarpour, who previously worked as a journalist in Tehran, said the foundation did nothing when the municipality threatened to take it to court for ignoring warnings about safety at Plasco.

It was built by Habibollah Elghanian, a prominent Iranian-Jewish businessman who was arrested for ties to Israel and sentenced to death and executed after the 1979 revolution. "They are martyrs. They lost their lives when trying to help people".

"The building is one of the oldest buildings in Tehran".

  • Adam Floyd