Dozens feared dead in enormous blaze at a shopping mall in Philippines

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Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said firefighters told distraught relatives of the 36 trapped employees of a business outsourcing company at the top floor of the NCCC Mall that nobody could survive the extreme heat and thick black smoke. It is unclear when firefighters can break into most areas of the mall, where the blaze was put under control Sunday morning. Investigators will determine the cause of the fire and the prospects of criminal lawsuits against the mall owners.

President-Duterte-at-the-scene
President Duterte at the scene of disaster

President Duterte went to the site Saturday. The president “assured the relatives of the victims that the government would extend help.” The cause of the fire remains unknown.The mall’s marketing manager, Janna Abdullah Mutalib, said the fire started Saturday morning at the third floor where clothes, appliances and furniture are sold. Except for a grocery at the ground floor and the business outsourcing company at the top floor, the shopping areas were still closed to the public when the fire started. Previously, the storm that blew out of the southern Philippines Sunday reportedly left more than 120 people dead with 160 others still missing.

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