Nine firefighters killed in Argentina warehouse fire

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Originally published on February 6, 2014

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At least nine members of emergency response teams in Argentina were killed while trying to extinguish a fire in a warehouse located in a southern suburb of the capital of Buenos Aires on Wednesday morning (February 5).

The fire reportedly broke out in a warehouses of an industrial area at around 8:15 a.m. local time. The warehouse was operated by U.S.-based Iron Mountain, a documents and data management company.

A group of firefighters who responded were trapped after a wall measuring roughly 7 m-high (23 ft) collapsed onto them. Three other walls came down soon after.

"It took them completely by surprise," Argentina's Security Secretary Sergio Berni said. "Some of the injured are fighting for their lives."

Of those killed, one was a fire fighter, two were members of a civil defense group and one other was a volunteer firefighter. Seven other first responders were hospitalized with serious injuries and one of them, a firefighter, is listed in critical condition.

Half the buliding was ruined by the time at least 10 squads of firefighters were able to get the blaze under control hours later.

Iron Mountain employees were still inside the building when the fire started, but all were accounted for by early afternoon, according to Berni.

Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro said the destroyed archives in the warehouse included documents stored for Argentine corporations and banks.

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