TEHRAN, Jan. 26 (Press Shia) – On Thursday morning, rescue operation found the body of 12th firefighter from under the rubble as the clearing of the huge debris approaches its final stages.
So far, the number of firefighters killed in the collapse has risen to 13, with one having died of wounds in the hospital. After a week of rescue operations, bodies of 4 civilians have also been recovered. Deputy-Police Commander of Greater Tehran told reporters that the number of missing reported by their family had also been rising to 10, of whom only 4 had been identified after being recovered, with 6 others expected to be found yet.
Brig. Gen. Alireza Alipour added that the traffic restrictions in the vicinity of the site would be on place up to the end of rubble clearing operation.
The 4th missing civilian had reportedly been found in the underground floor of the building. Jalal Maleki Tehran Firefighting Department Spokesperson told reporters that the rescue operation was underway in northern, northeastern, and central parts of the rubble.
Fire has still been raging from under the rubble as clearing giant machines laboriously carry the debris including large slabs of steel; rescuers say nothing had been found partially intact, as the intense heat from burning of the fabrics and other inflammable materials had but melted down everything including the most resistant steel.
Smoke rising from the rubble has been the major trouble for rescuers and the public; combined with the hazy air, the visibility is adversely affected, making it difficult to see through the rubble in search of traces of bodies.
Intense heat makes it difficult to search dogs to effectively search through the rubble. Maleki told reporters on Wednesday night that up to 18 metric tons of rubble had been cleared from the site.
UPDATE: Rescue operators have come across the 13th firefighter’s body on Thursday, thus the number of the recovered bodies rises to 14. 2 other firefighters’ bodies are expected to be recovered yet.
UPDATE 2: 14th firefighter’s body has been recovered from under the rubble.
UPDATE: 15th firefighter’s body has been recovered; so far, 16 firefighters have been recovered from under the rubble. Authorities say the estimted number of firefighters had been 16, so all firefighters had been found.
Maleki added that the funeral ceremony date would be announced in a later date.