Iran’s oldest high-rise collapses after blaze, killing firefighters

More than 20 firefighters are feared to have died when the oldest high-rise in Iran collapsed last week after being engulfed by a fire thought to have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

The Plasco building in Tehran (Wikimedia Commons)

Inaugurated in 1962 in the capital Tehran, the 17-storey Plasco building housed shopping centres and clothing workshops when it went up in flames early on 19 January, drawing teams of firefighters.

As men battled the blaze, all caught on national television, the iconic building began to break apart before collapsing suddenly into a heap, trapping firefighters in the burning rubble.

State news agency Press TV reported on 22 January that rescue teams were hoping to find some 20 firefighters still trapped, while the bodies of two firefighters had been recovered and a third died in hospital.

Although since dwarfed by much higher structures, the Plasco building was the tallest in the city at the time of its construction in 1962.

A prominent Iranian-Jewish businessman, Habibollah Elghanian, commissioned the building but was later arrested for ties to Israel and sentenced to death following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Photograph: The Plasco building in Tehran (Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. Short in the electrical system or another 9/11?

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