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37 Bodies Found in Philippine Mall Fire

  • VOA News

Firemen battle a fire that rages at a shopping mall, Dec. 23, 2017, in Davao city, southern Philippines.

Philippine officials say firefighters have found the remains of all 37 people who became trapped when a shopping mall went up in flames in the southern city of Davao.

The fire broke out Saturday, but extreme heat and thick smoke prevented firefighters from retrieving all the bodies until Monday, said Davao Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio. One body was discovered Sunday. Authorities say the victims worked for a U.S.-based company in the mall.

The regional chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu, relayed the news to the employees' relatives Monday.

The U.S.-based market research company Research Now SSI, which said it employs 500 people in its local call center operation, confirmed Sunday that 37 employees "were lost" in the blaze, and that it is offering counseling to workers and condolences and prayers to the families of the victims.