Rescue teams pull 2 bodies from Iran building rubble

AP News
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Posted: Jan 21, 2017 9:03 AM
Rescue teams pull 2 bodies from Iran building rubble

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Rescuers found the bodies of two firefighters in the rubble of a commercial building that collapsed in Tehran after a blaze, leaving up to 30 people dead, Iran's state TV reported Saturday.

Footage showed rescuers carrying the body of one of the victims. The two were the first to be found in the large pile of debris.

Also on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani visited the site and urged a quick restoration of the area, part of Tehran's commercial and business neighborhood.

Iran also lowered the flags at its embassies across the world to half-mast.

Iranian officials have yet to offer definitive casualty figures for the Thursday disaster.

State-run Press TV reported Thursday that 30 firefighters had been killed, without elaborating. Later, authorities said more than 20 firefighters had been killed.

On Friday, authorities said an injured firefighter died at a local hospital.

A report by the official IRNA news agency on Saturday put the number of injured firefighters and other victims at 114, but said only five of them were hospitalized.

Authorities described the building, built more than five decades ago, as having a weak structure. Thursday's fire was the worst in Tehran since a 2005 blaze at a historic mosque killed 59 worshippers and injured nearly 200 others.