Firefighters inspect the site of an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran. Reuters
An explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people, Iranian state TV reported on Tuesday.Authorities initially said 13 people were dead, but Jalal Maleki, spokesman for the Tehran Fire Department, later told state TV that the toll had risen to 19.
State-run IRNA news agency also quoted Maleki as saying the dead included 15 women and four men. Maleki added that firefighters had rescued 20 people.
Video posted online appeared to show more than one explosion and thick black smoke rising from the flames.
People gather at the site of an explosion at a medical clinic in the north of the Iranian capital Tehran, Iran. Reuters
Hamidreza Goudarzi, deputy Tehran governor, told state TV that a leak from medical gas tanks in the building was the cause of the explosion and fire.
People in nearby Tajrish Bazaar rushed to the scene, impeding a rescue operation, authorities said. Videos on social media showed people gathered outside of the building.
State TV said there could be more explosions because there were a number of oxygen tanks remaining in the medical center.
Witness Marjan Haghighi told the media that police blocked roads to the neighbourhood.
The blast at Sina At'har health centre caused damage to buildings in the vicinity and sent a plume of thick black smoke into the night sky, state television reported.
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