Nearly 40 feared dead in horrific shopping centre fire in the Philippines
Nearly 40 people are feared dead in a raging fire that engulfed a shopping centre in the Philippines.
Firefighters at the four-storey NCCC Mall in the southern city of Davao said the chance of survival for the 37 people trapped inside the burning building is ‘zero’.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said relatives of the employees who work on the top floor were being told to expect the worst.
‘They were told that the chances of survival are zero,’ she said.
The blaze was put under control earlier this morning, but thick smoke is still hindering the rescue operation.
The firefighters won’t stop until all those reported missing are found, Ms Duterte-Carpio said.
Misery in the country has been compounded by the devastation wreaked by Storm Tembin on the southern island of Mindanao. At least 200 people have died in flash floods and landslides.
Investigators will determine the cause of the fire and lawsuits against the centre will depend on the investigation’s outcome, said the mayor, who is the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Mr Duterte, the mayor and Roman Catholic Church officials went to the site and met with relatives of the trapped office employees late on Saturday and asked them to pray.
The president was photographed wiping his eyes with a handkerchief, his head bowed, at an emotional moment with the relatives.
The centre’s marketing manager, Janna Abdullah Mutalib, said the fire started on Saturday morning at the third floor where clothes, appliances and furniture are sold, after Storm Tembin hit Davao and flooded parts of the city.
Most of the shopping centre was closed when the fire started, preventing a bigger tragedy amid the peak Christmas shopping season.
Mr Duterte served as Davao mayor for many years before being elected to the presidency last year.
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