Published: Mon, December 25, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Firm laments loss of 37 employees in Davao mall fire

Firm laments loss of 37 employees in Davao mall fire

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. "We are grateful for the courageous response of the first responders and others who rushed to the scene", he added.

The company said it has arranged for counselling for its employees, and will support funeral arrangements and set up a fund to assist the bereaved. "We offer our condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones of the victims", SSI chief executive Gary Laben said in a statement on its website.

Gary Laben, CEO of Research Now SSI, added: "This awful tragedy has left us with heavy hearts".

As of 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, at least 37 people are listed as missing following the blaze that destroyed parts of NCCC Mall of Davao, city vice mayor Paolo Duterte, the president's son, said. The cause of the blaze is still not known, though it is said to have broken out near shops where furniture, clothes and electrical appliances were sold.

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He said the fire was "technically contained".

"There is no truth to that allegation". Officials said many of those missing worked at a call center inside the building, reported The New York Times. "They told us to come here but no one is moving", she told AFP.

There have also been horrific fires in bigger buildings and factories, where corruption and exploitation mean supposedly strict standards are often not enforced. Survivors of that blaze blamed barred windows and other sweatshop conditions for trapping people inside the factory.

The southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where Davao City is located, has been in the grip of another tragedy this weekend.

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