Firefighters in the Philippines recovered one body from a burning shopping mall Sunday and there is "zero" chance of survival for 36 other trapped people inside the four-story building in southern Davao city, an official said. 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, the AP reports. Investigators will determine the cause of the fire and the prospects of criminal lawsuits against the mall owners and officials would depend on the outcome of the investigation, said the mayor, who is the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte, the mayor, and Roman Catholic Church officials went to the site and met with relatives of the trapped office employees late Saturday and asked them to pray. 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, after a storm hit Davao and flooded parts of the city. 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 mid-morning, preventing a bigger tragedy amid the peak Christmas shopping season. (The storm has killed at least 120 people and 160 others are missing.)