World News

Philippines mall fire: Dozens feared dead

Posted December 23, 2017 6:27 p.m. EST

— At least 37 people were missing and feared dead Sunday, more than a day after a fire broke out at a shopping mall in the southern Philippine city of Davao, authorities said.

The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said the fire started around 9:40 a.m. Saturday in the third floor of the New City Commercial Center (NCCC) mall, according to CNN Philippines. The fire was reported not long before the mall was supposed to open.

Sunday morning, Emmanuel Jaldon, the chief operating officer for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said firefighters were in the last phase before declaring the fire out and that the fire was "technically contained."

Authorities have not provided a cause of the fire.

The fire struck as the Philippines was reeling from a storm that killed dozens and caused flooding and landslides.

In a Facebook post, Deputy Mayor Paolo Duterte quoted the ground commander of the Brigade of Fire Protection as saying the chances of finding the 37 people alive were zero.

"Please continue to pray for everyone's safety," the mall's management said in a statement Saturday, CNN Philippines reported.

Davao is the hometown of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Local media showed photos of Duterte visiting the mall and meeting with the victim's families. He was mayor of Davao City and still has a residence there.

The city is about 1,514 kilometers (941 miles) south of Manila.