Skip to main content

Bodies of 2 fire fighters recovered after Tehran tower inferno

20 firefighters were reported dead after Tehran's oldest high-rise came crashing down
A firefighter consoles his comrade after the collapse of Iran's oldest high-rise (AFP)

Rescue teams recovered the bodies of two Iranian firefighters early on Saturday, two days after they were killed while tackling a blaze in Tehran's oldest high-rise.

They were among around 20 firefighters feared killed when the 15-storey Plasco building collapsed on Thursday while emergency services were still evacuating the tower, after a four-hour blaze.

One firefighter has already died in hospital of his injuries.

Smouldering fires and smoke have complicated the recovery effort as sniffer dogs have combed the rubble.

Tehran's chief pathologist said the degree of the burns had made identification of the dead difficult.

"Even the identity badges they wore on their uniforms were burnt beyond recognition," Massoud Ghadipacha told Iran's ISNA news agency.

The government announced a day of mourning for the firefighters on Saturday, with the cabinet releasing a statement "praising these great men of sacrifice".

President Hassan Rouhani, who visited the site on Saturday, called for an immediate investigation.

Impromptu displays of solidarity and sadness appeared across Iran, with people leaving flowers and lighting candles outside fire stations.

The tributes extended outside Iran, with fire stations in the US tweeting messages of support.

The Plasco building was Iran's oldest high-rise and contained a shopping centre and hundreds of clothing suppliers.

When completed in 1962, it was Iran's tallest building, before being dwarfed by the construction boom of later years.

It was built by Habibollah Elghanian, a prominent Iranian-Jewish businessman who was arrested for alleged ties to Israel and executed after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.