Mayor Sara Duterte: 1 dead, 38 missing from Davao City mall fire

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 24) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte confirms that one body has been recovered from the New City Commercial Center (NCCC), which was hit by a fire Saturday.

The number of missing people has now risen to 38.

Mayor Inday also urged the public to wait for official reports and avoid speculations, stop blaming the rescuers as she also commended rescuers from the Bureau of Fire Protection and volunteers for responding appropriately - despite the dangers they faced and the manpower and resources they have.

 

She called the NCCC Mall fire "an unfortunate incident."

The Facebook page of the City Government of Davao posted the list of the names of people missing due to the fire. They were reported missing by their relatives;

 

It added, "If there may have been a misunderstanding and the person is found to be somewhere else, please let us know so that we may correct the list."

'Under control'

As of 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Davao City Fire Marshall Honeyfritz Alagano said the fire has not been put out, but is under control.

She said the fire started at the third floor of the mall, at the furniture area.

"Yung ating mall, wala siyang ventilation and enclosed space siya, so di nakalabas yung usok at apoy. Lahat ng responder na pumapasok sa building, yun nakakasalubong nila, usok at apoy," Alagano told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: The mall had insufficient ventilation and it's an enclosed space, so the fire and smoke could not get out. This is what responders saw when they went in, smoke and fire.]

She added fire exits could be opened and used by employees, except the one near a call center on the fourth floor.

Smoke was coming through, Alagano said. So instead of leaving the premises via the fire exit, the employees chose to go back to their office

Photos shared by Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Spokesperson Aileen Lizada on Sunday showed the state of the NCCC Mall.

 

Duterte visits fire victims

President Rodrigo Duterte visited the relatives of the victims of the fire that hit the New City Commercial Center (NCCC) in Davao.

At least 37 people were earlier reported trapped in the fire that broke out Saturday morning.

 

Photos showed the president checking on the situation at the mall as authorities give him updates. He was accompanied by his son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and Special Assistant Bong Go.

Search and rescue operations are still ongoing, but the Vice Mayor said, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection, there was zero chance of survival from the fire.

The President also visited the families of the fire victims, at one point he was shown wiping his eyes, overcome with emotion.

Malacañang released a statement Sunday, saying their thoughts and prayers were with the victims,  and that they would be given help by the government.

The NCCC mall said on Facebook that the city mayor's office and social services office are ready to assist victims.