DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian rescuers have recovered four bodies from the rubble of a high-rise building in Tehran that collapsed last week after a fire, bringing the death toll to at least seven, with more than 20 people still missing, state television reported on Monday.
“Four bodies were found and turned over to the coroner’s office for identification,” Esmail Farahani, deputy head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services, told state TV.
Farahani said the bodies were located in the basement of the 17-storey Plasco shopping mall, which crumbled after catching fire on Thursday, trapping as many as 30 people, many of them firefighters.
Rescue officials have said they were unlikely to find any survivors due to the extreme heat caused by fires that reignited as debris was removed.
Managers of the building, which was built 54 years ago, had ignored repeated warnings about poor safety standards and the building’s weak structure, Tehran’s mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, has said.
Authorities have estimated the damage at about $500 million, and said that most of the shops and businesses were not insured because safety standards had not been met.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Paul Simao)