|image credit: AFP|
A MASSIVE explosion has killed at least 19 people at a medical clinic in Tehran.
The blast at the Sina At'har facility in the north of the Iranian capital was trigged by a gas leak and also left six people injured.
State-run IRNA news agency quoted Jalal Maleki, spokesman for the Tehran Fire Department, as saying the dead included 15 women and four men while firefighters had rescued 20 people.
A video posted on social media appeared to show multiple explosions at the site and another showed firefighters using a ladder to access the roof of the building.
At last 10 ambulances were deployed to the site last night and a nearby hospital went on alert to receive additional injured if necessary as police blocked off all roads to the site.
Authorities said firefighters were trying to evacuate people from nearby buildings.
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.
There could be more explosions because there were a number of oxygen tanks remaining in the medical centre, the state broadcaster said.
The clinic, which had 25 employees inside at the time of the blast, primarily carries out light surgeries and medical imaging, Harirchi said.
Last week, an explosion occurred close to a sensitive military site near Tehran which the defence ministry said was caused by a leaking tank at a gas storage facility. No deaths or injuries were reported.