Thirty-seven confirmed dead in Philippines mall fire

ANI | Updated: Dec 26, 2017 11:56 IST

Davao [Philippines], Dec 26 (ANI): The fire authorities in Philippines have confirmed that around 37 charred bodies were found after a deadly blaze occurred at a shopping mall in southern Philippines.

According to ChannelNewsAsia, the regional chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Wilberto Rico, had announced that he personally counted "around 37" bodies in an office lobby at the shopping mall in Davao.

The casualties were mostly, call centre staff, who were working in an American-based call centre organisation. The fire was finally controlled by the firefighters late on Monday night, which started on Saturday morning.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The local authorities have ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said, in a statement: "By punishing those responsible, we can set an example to others so that, hopefully, there will be no repetition of such tragedies."

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte had made an unannounced visit to the mall on Saturday night and met with the family members of the affected victims.

He has also assured them that the government would extend help.

The blaze at the shopping mall comes at a time when over 180 people were reported dead in a major tropical storm in Mindanao, almost 500 km north-west from Davao. (ANI)