Asia

Philippines mall fire: At least 37 feared dead in Davao

Burning shopping mall in Davao, the Philippines Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Employees of a call centre were trapped on the fourth floor, officials said

At least 37 people are feared to have died in a fire that tore through a shopping mall in the southern Philippine city of Davao, local officials say.

Firefighters battled for hours to extinguish the blaze that started on the third floor and spread to the floor above, trapping call centre employees.

Their chances of survival were "zero", Davao's Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, the vice-mayor's father, visited the scene.

President Duterte, a Davao native, met families of the missing outside the burning NCCC mall.

The cause of the fire, which began on Saturday morning, is being investigated.

The mall's marketing manager, Janna Abdullah Mutalib, said the blaze started on the third floor, where clothes, appliances and furniture were sold, the Philippines Star website reports.

Davao lies about 800km (500 miles) south-east of the capital Manila.

The fire comes as the country is coming to terms with a deadly tropical storm.

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