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9 die in fire destroying Argentine bank archives

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm •  Published: February 5, 2014

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Nine first-responders were killed and seven others injured as they battled a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of corporate and banking industry documents in Argentina's capital on Wednesday.

The fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse took hours to control and at least half of the sprawling building was ruined despite the efforts of at least 10 squads of firefighters.

The nine firefighters and civil defense workers were crushed when a brick wall collapsed on top of a large group of first-responders on the sidewalk and street outside. Tearful rescuers removed rubble by hand to reach their comrades.

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

Berni said Iron Mountain also had employees inside the building when the fire started early Wednesday, but all the employees and firefighters were accounted for by early afternoon.

The destroyed archives included documents stored for Argentine corporations and banks, said Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro.

The cause wasn't immediately clear. Berni said the company's on-site firefighters shared some details with authorities, and Iron Mountain said it too will investigate.

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