At least 30 firefighters are feared to have been killed after Iran’s oldest high-rise in southern Tehran collapsed on Thursday following a major fire in the building, state television and a news agency reported.
The 17-story structure crumbled after fire engulfed the top floors of the building in downtown Tehran on Thursday morning as scores of firefighters battled the blaze.
An official was quoted as saying that between 50 to 100 people are believed to have been trapped under the rubble.
Reports earlier suggested that the 30 firefighters had been killed in the accident.
Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours before the collapse as police kept out shopkeepers and others trying to rush back in to collect their valuables.
Nearby buildings including the embassies of Turkey and the UK have been evacuated. Authorities at Tehran’s governor’s office have ruled out terrorism.
The tower was inaugurated in 1962 and named after a plastics manufacturing company. It was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction. It included shopping centers and clothing workshops.