TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (Press Shia Agency) – Nine days after the tragic collapse of Plasco Trade Center in downtown Tehran, the rubble removal operation in the building came to an end on Jan 27.
The 17-storey building caught fire early in the morning on Jan. 19. The whole building collapsed while the firefighters were trying to extinguish the fire.
Twenty people, including 16 firefighters were killed under the rubble and over 20,000 tons of debris was removed from the site of the incident with the use of 1,700 trucks.
According to the spokesman for Tehran Emergency Center, Hassan Abbasi, the incident also injured 235 people and noted that two fire fighters are still hospitalized.
Meanwhile, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that electrical short circuit was the main cause of the Plasco incident.
Tehran Municipality authorities say they had repeatedly warned about safety issues at the building. Plasco, one of Tehran’s oldest high-rises, was home to hundreds of production workshops and was known mostly for its clothing stores.
Rescue operations the priority
On Jan 20, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in a message voiced deep sorrow and concern over the ‘painful’ happening and underlined rescue operations as the priority to follow.
The Leader’s message reads, “the painful fire in and collapse of the building in downtown the city have made me deeply saddened, unhappy and concerned. The courage and devotion of the firefighters, who were hit by the incident in the course of the rescue operations and underwent a difficult test while fulfilling their devotion out of commitment, fills one’s heart with praise as well as concern and pain.”
The Leader said for the time being, the priority in efforts should be rescuing those trapped in the debris and then the root causes of the incident should be investigated.
“I ask all officials to continue their hard working as they did in the past several hours and give preference to their emergency duty than any other thing. Hope for God Almighty’s assistance. God Willing.”
Braveries of devoted firefighters
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani in a message praised braveries of the devoted firefighters, who lost their lives in the rescue operations in the Plasco building.
The president thanked all the relief-aid workers, firefighters and medical, police and military personnel involved in the rescue operations.
He wished divine forgiveness for all those who lost their lives in the ‘tragic’ incident and asked all Iranian citizens to pray for recovery of the injured and rescue of those being possibly alive in the wake of the event.
Mourning day for tragedy
On Jan 20, Iranian government announced one day of public mourning due to the tragedy in Tehran’s Plasco building.
Praising the sacrifices of firefighters in protection of people’s life, the government offered condolences to the bereaved families of firefighters and wished recovery for the injured.
Committee to probe tragedy
On Jan 28, President Hassan Rouhani issued an order assigning a special committee to probe into the tragic collapse of Plasco Trade Center.
The president called on the members of the committee to release their report on the incident within two months.
The committee is also tasked with exploring ways how to prevent the repetition of such tragedies.
Meanwhile, Rahmani-Fazli also has announced that all found responsible for the tragic incident in Plasco building would face due punishment after related bodies provided their final reports on the fatal event.
Foreign officials’ condolences
Following the tragic incident, foreign officials have expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims and the Iranian people.
Officials from the Brazilian foreign ministry as well as the commander of firefighting brigade stationed in Brasília signed the memorial book opened at Iran’s embassy in the federal capital of Brazil to extend their condolences.
Representatives from the European Union delegation in Brazil also were among foreign officials who signed the book.
Foreign Ambassadors in Guyana, Iraq, Surinam, Ivory Coast, Myanmar, Burundi, Armenia, East Timor, and also foreign charge d’affaires in Ukraine, Angola, Oman, Togo, Germany, Switzerland, Georgia, Tunisia, Lebanon, Thailand, Venezuela, France and Portugal attended the Iranian embassies in the respective nations and signed the memorial book.
In a related news, a group of political, cultural and economic officials and figures along with Romanian academics attended Iran’s embassy in Bucharest to extend condolences to the bereaved families of the victims as well as the Iranian people.
Foreign diplomats and ambassadors residing in Australia signed the memorial book opened at the Iranian embassy to voice condolence over the death of the Iranian firefighters killed during the fire and collapse of the Plasco Building.
A number of ambassadors and foreign diplomats residing in Finland also attended Iran’s embassy in Helsinki and signed the memorial book to express sympathy with the Iranian people.
Global firefighters’ condolences
Meanwhile, the firefighters from several countries also expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims and the Iranian people.
Deputy Commander of Paris Firefighters, General Jean Claude Gallet, attended Iran’s Embassy in the French capital to sign a memorial book for the Iranian firefighters, martyred in the tragic collapse of Plasco trade center in Tehran.
Gallet also extended condolences to Iranians on martyrdom of the courageous firefighters who lost their lives on January 19 while trying to put out a huge fire in Tehran’s first high-rise building which was burning in a fatal fire.
Hailing braveries of the killed firefighters, the French official said that their devotion can serve as a source of inspiration for the firefighters across the world.
Firefighters Society of Busan, South Korea also in a message issued condolences over the tragic fire incident.
In the letter penned by a Korean firefighter on behalf of South Korean firefighters’ society to Iranian embassy in South Korea, he sympathized with the bereaved families of the victims of the sad incident.
Chilean firefighters also voiced their deep grief over the sad incident.
A group of firefighters from Santiago in Chile laid down a wreath of flowers and shared sympathy with the bereaved families of the victims of the tragic incident.
The staff of Dublin’s fire stations shared sympathy with families of the bereaved families of the victims by attending Iranian embassy in Ireland and presenting a wreath of flowers.
‘Please convey our condolences and sympathy to Iranian firefighters who showed their courage and selflessness during the sad incident of Tehran high-rise collapse and rescued many people,’ an Irish firefighter said.
After all, Plasco flames was distinguished after nine days, but the incident foments the public grief nationwide.
The deadly incident regarding its magnitude was the first of its kind and everyone hopes such events would not happen again.
Undoubtedly, this horrible incident should be a lesson for our future and was a lesson and a warning call for all authorities that there should be more accurate planning for making people’s lives safer, which is everybody’s civil rights, including cities, areas, shops, and streets and passages.
Meanwhile, the astonishing bright side of the incident was the sympathies not only people from all across the country showed for the loss and grief, but also numerous people, officials and firefighters from all around the world showed that human passion and kindness recognizes no borders and as great Persian Poet Saadi has written centuries ago:
Human beings are the limbs of the same body
And their creation comes from the very same source