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    Plasco body hunt stops with 20 corpses

    January 03, 2017

    PlascoAfter nine days of digging, the hunt for more bodies in the ruins of the collapsed Plasco building was halted last Friday with 20 corpses found.

    The remains of 15 firemen and four civilians were pulled from the wreckage.  A 16th fireman injured fighting the fire before the collapse died in the hospital.

    Sixteen was the total number of firemen who did not answer the roll call after the collapse.  Officials said 10 families of people working in the Plasco building reported their loved ones never came home.  But only four remains of civilians were found, leaving the fate of the other six unanswered.  Three of the four civilian

    FINAL WORK ON PLASCO — During the nine days of digging up the wreckage and hunting for bodies, many citizens brought food to the firefighters working on the Plasco site.  The work wasn’t just a matter of digging.  There were many fires deep in the debris and often as the firefighters dug, the flames would flare up.

    FINAL WORK ON PLASCO — During the nine days of digging up the wreckage and hunting for bodies, many citizens brought food to the firefighters working on the Plasco site. The work wasn’t just a matter of digging. There were many fires deep in the debris and often as the firefighters dug, the flames would flare up.

    bodies have been identified, officials said.

    Throughout the nine days after the collapse, long lines of trucks assembled outside the scene of the collapse as load upon load of debris was dumped into the trucks to be carted away.  The 17-story Plasco building—the highest building in the capital when it went up in the 1960s—was reduced to three stories in height after the collapse.  Now it is down to ground level.

    President Rohani has appointed a 10-member commission to investigate the cause of the fire, the collapse and how officials dealt with the incident.  The probe will also deal with what safety measures were taken—or were not taken—before the fire.

    Plasco08     Ever since the day of the collapse, officials have said all indications point to an electrical short circuit as the cause of the blaze, but no one has explained what evidence that conclusion is based on.

    Many Reformist politicians have been blaming the disaster on Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf and demanding his resignation.  Qalibaf is widely expected to challenge President Rohani in the May elections, so Reformists are eager to cause him political problems to diminish his electoral appeal.

    FROM TOWER TO EMPTY SITE — A huge fleet of dump trucks had to be mobilized to cart away the remains of the 17-story Plasco building.  After nine days of work, the site has now been cleared. It hasn’t been decided what will be built on the site next.

    FROM TOWER TO EMPTY SITE — A huge fleet of dump trucks had to be mobilized to cart away the remains of the 17-story Plasco building. After nine days of work, the site has now been cleared. It hasn’t been decided what will be built on the site next.

    Just last September, the Tehran City Council approved a new fire safety ordinance requiring the municipality to inspect buildings regularly for fire hazards and to enforce the rules on building owners.  City officials have said the Plasco building’s owner—the Mostazafin Foundation—was repeatedly warned of violations, including garment makers who rented units and piled stock in corridors and on stairwells.

    An estimated 3,500 people worked in the building and have lost their jobs.

    A week after the tragedy, one firefighter injured in the blaze remains hospitalized.

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