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At least 30 fire fighters are feared to have been killed after Iran’s oldest high-rise in southern Tehran collapsed on Thursday following a major fire in the building, state television reported.

The 17-story structure collapsed after fire engulfed the top floors of the building in Tehran’s downtown area on Thursday morning.

An official told the state television that between 50 to 100 people are believed to have been trapped under the rubble.  Reports earlier suggested that the 30 fire-fighters had been killed in the accident.

The building came down in a matter of seconds. A side of the building came down first, tumbling perilously close to a fire-fighter perched on a ladder and spraying water on the blaze.

Dramatic images showed flames pouring out of the top floors before it crumbled to the ground.

The building was already evacuated after fire erupted from the 9th floor, but some people were reportedly still inside when the collapse happened.

“We had repeatedly warned the building managers about the lack of safety of the building,” fire brigade spokesman Jalal Malekias said.

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