The commercial building in the Iranian capital of Tehran, came down in a giant cloud of dust trapping many of the firefighters who were attempting to extinguish the electrical fire that had engulfed it.
State-run TV in Iran reported at least 75 people, including 45 firefighters, had been hurt when the building was reduced to rubble early on Thursday morning.
The disturbing footage shows firefighters surrounding the burning building, which is engulfed in a cloud of black smoke.
It suddenly comes toppling to the ground with most of the destruction obstructed by the thick plume of smoke.
A building collapse in Tehran trapped firefighters tackling a blaze inside
It was like a horror movie. These building collapsed in front of me
Local business owner
Crowds of people can be seen dashing towards the wreckage as they seemingly attempt to join the rescue mission.
Soldiers, sniffer dogs and rescue workers were called in to search for those trapped inside and medics treated dozens of casualties after the Plasco building in the south of the city collapsed.
Mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf said there were about 25 firefighters trapped under the fallen building.
According to reports one of the first firefighters to be reached shouted “leave me alone, let me go back inside and save my trapped colleagues”, as he was pulled from the wreckage.
Around 25 firefighters were said to be trapped in the wreckage
Most of the injured were taken to hospital and were quickly discharged after having their wounds tended to.
The state television channel predicted that the rescue mission could last up to two day as teams search for signs of life buried under giant concrete slabs and heaps of twisted metal.
President Hassan Rouhani ordered an “immediate investigation” and compensation for those affected by the collapse of the 50-year-old building.
In the immediate aftermath of the tower’s collapse the British and Turkish embassies, which are located near the building, were cordoned off.
Bangladesh building collapse leaves at least 70 dead
Wed, April 24, 2013
An eight-storey building collapses on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, killing at least 70 people and injuring hundreds.
1 of 12
The eight-storey block housing garment factories and a shopping centre collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital
According to a fire department spokesman the building’s tenants “had been warned repeatedly in the past months by the municipality to evacuate the building because of safety concerns”.
A shop owner nearby, who was forced to leave the area by police, told Reuters: “It was like a horror movie. These building collapsed in front of me.”
“The flames could be seen kilometres away from the old building… but most of the residents and shopkeepers in the building had been evacuated,” said Fars news agency.
The building was mainly occupied by garment manufacturers and state broadcast footage showed business owners trying to re-enter the wreckage to see if their livelihoods could be salvaged.