36 People Trapped Inside Philippines Shopping Centre Caught on Fire

By Wolfgang Hägele [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL] via Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, an official said that Philippine Firefighters recovered a body from a shopping mall that was caught on Fire and they declared that there was “zero” chance of survival for the 36 others that were trapped people inside the four-story building that is located in southern Davao city.

Sara Duterte-Carpio, the City Mayor, said that firefighters informed the distraught relatives of the 36 employees of a business outsourcing company that were trapped at the top floor of the NCCC Mall that no one could be able to survive the extreme heat and thick black smoke.

Adding that one of those people who were trapped may be a South Korean or a Chinese, based on the name, Duterte-Carpio stated: “They were told that the chances of survival are zero.”

It is not clear when the firefighters were able to break into most areas of the mall, where the fire was put under control on Sunday morning even though smoke proceeded to billow from the said building. The firefighters said that they would not stop until all those that were reported missing are found, said Duterte-Carpio.

Investigators will determine the cause of the said fire, and the possibilities of criminal lawsuits against the mall officials and owners would depend on the result of the investigation, stated the mayor, who is also the daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines.

Duterte, the mayor, and some officials of the Roman Catholic Church went to the site and talked with the relatives of the office employees who were trapped late Saturday and told them to pray. The Philippine President was photographed wiping his eyes using a handkerchief with his head bowed during an emotional moment with the relatives.

Janna Abdullah Mutalib, the marketing manager of the mall, said that the fire started on Saturday morning at the third floor where appliances, furniture, and clothes are sold after a storm stuck Davao and flooded most parts of the city. Except for the grocery area at the ground floor and the business outsourcing company that was located at the top floor, the shopping areas were still closed to the public when the fire began on mid-morning, thus, preventing a larger tragedy amid the peak of the Christmas shopping season.

President Duterte served as the mayor of Davao for many years prior to being elected to the presidency in 2016.

It has been a tough year for the tough-talking 72-year-old leader who suffered his most serious crisis when hundreds of extremists of the pro-Islamic State group laid siege on the city of Marawi which is also in the southern third of the Philippines. Duterte declared martial law in the south in order to deal with the insurrection, which the troops crushed in October.

The storm that struck the southern Philippines on Sunday reportedly left over 120 people dead with 160 others still missing.