Gas explosion in clinic in Iranian capital kills 19

Gas explosion in clinic in Iranian capital kills 19

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – An explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran has killed 19 people, Iranian state television reported Tuesday.

Authorities initially said 13 people were dead, but Tehran Fire Department spokesman Jalal Maleki later told state television that the toll had risen to 19.

State-run news agency IRNA also quoted Maleki as saying that among the dead, there were 15 women and four men. Maleki added that firefighters saved 20 people.

Video posted online seemed to show more than one explosion and thick black smoke from the flames.

Hamidreza Goudarzi, Deputy Governor of Tehran, told state television that a leak from medical gas tanks in the building was the cause of the explosion and fire.

People in the nearby Tajrish Bazaar rushed to the scene and hindered a rescue operation, authorities said. Social media videos showed people gathering outside the building.

State television said there could be more explosions because there were still a number of oxygen tanks in the medical center.

Witness Marjan Haghighi told The Associated Press that police were blocking roads to the neighborhood.

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Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi contributed to this report.

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