Thirty-seven people are feared dead after a fire broke out at a shopping mall in the southern Philippines city of Davao on Saturday morning, AFP reported, quoting Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. The blaze had not been doused till Sunday morning.
Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said one body had been recovered and that rescuers’ priority was to find the others who are missing. “Do not stop until you find the 37,” she had earlier told rescue workers. Chances of the survival of the rest of the missing people are “zero”, Paolo Duterte said.
Most of those trapped inside are staff of a call centre on NCCC Mall’s top floor, said the authorities.
The fire started at a furniture store on the third floor and soon spread to other stores, police officer Ralph Canoy said. The cause is not known and an investigation has been launched, a city government spokesperson told Reuters.
President Rodrigo Duterte, a former mayor who still lives in the city, visited the mall on Saturday night to meet relatives of the victims. Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte is his son.