Iran building collapse kills 17: report

-File photo

The remains of 17 workers have been recovered from the rubble of a seven-storey building that collapsed in northwest Tehran, Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.
Around 20 construction workers were trapped under the debris of the building when it collapsed early on Monday but it was not clear how many of them were still believed to be alive.
Fars news agency said that fire department rescue teams at the scene had extracted 17 corpses from the rubble and that rescue efforts are continuing. An earlier toll by Fars and ISNA news agencies said 11 corpses had been found.
The workers had been recovering construction material from the building which had received an order to be demolished. Their nationality was not given — many building workers in Tehran are from Afghanistan.
The original foundations of the building were said to be 17 years old but new storeys had been added on.
The apartment block had already been evacuated by residents after it was found that a foundation column had started to wilt, reports said.
There has been considerable concern in Tehran about the strength of apartment blocks that have sprung up in huge numbers in all areas of the capital in recent years to cope with its dramatic population explosion.
The concern is particularly great as the densely-populated Iranian capital sits on a major earthquake fault and a major tremor could wreak unprecedented devastation and cause great loss of life.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2008