Iranian High-rise Collapses in Huge Fire, Killing Dozens

The building collapsed three hours later, in images broadcast live on Iranian television.

Tehran's mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, said there were "no ordinary civilians" trapped under the rubble.

" 'They asked us. using loudspeakers to evacuate the building, but some people went inside again, saying their precious documents, their bank checks, their entire life was in their shops, ' said witness Masoud Hosseini".

"Some firefighters might be trapped inside the building", state TV reported. State TV said the death toll might increase.

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Fire department spokesman Jalal Maleki said the structure lacked fire extinguishers. The rescue operation still continues.

At least 30 firefighters 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 semi-official news outlet reported the fire started around 8 am local time (4.40am GMT) local time when many shopkeepers were not inside the building". It said one of the first firefighters to be reached had demanded to be let back inside to save his colleagues.

He also ordered the ministry to ensure the injured were cared for and to take immediate action to compensate those affected by the disaster.

" 'Firefighters went inside to bring them out, and then suddenly the building collapsed, ' Hosseini said".

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Sniffer dogs searched for signs of survivors buried under giant slabs of concrete and heaps of twisted metal.

In this image made from video, a high-rise residential building collapses following a large fire, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Tehran, Iran.

Tasnim said it "had caught fire in the past". "The managers didn't pay attention to the warnings".

The owner of a nearby grocery store, forced by police to leave the area, told Reuters by telephone that "it was like a horror movie". "Some of the surrounding buildings were damaged in the collapse".

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