A 17-story building in Tehran engulfed by a fire collapsed on Thursday, killing at least 30 firefighters and injuring some 75 people, state media reported, per the AP. Iran's state-run Press TV announced the firefighters' deaths, without giving a source for the information. Local Iranian state television said 30 civilians were injured, while the state-run IRNA news agency said 45 firefighters had been injured. Firefighters from 10 firehouses had battled the blaze at the iconic Plasco building for hours before the collapse. Police tried to keep out shopkeepers and others wanting to rush back in to collect their valuables.
The building came down in a matter of seconds, shown live on state television, which had begun an interview with a journalist at the scene. A side of the building came down first, tumbling perilously close to a firefighter on a ladder spraying water on the blaze. A thick plume of brown smoke rose over the site after the collapse. Onlookers wailed in grief. The Iranian military sent units to help with the disaster, state television reported. The tower, located near several embassies, was built in the early 1960s and was the tallest building in the city at the time of its construction. (Read more Iran stories.)