At least 37 people were trapped inside a burning shopping mall in the southern Philippines city of Davao. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Ruby Ebrano/European Pressphoto Agency

MANILA — Firefighters were unable to enter a burning shopping mall in the Philippines on Sunday, more than a day after an enormous blaze tore through the building and trapped dozens of people inside.

At least 37 people were unable to escape from the mall in the southern city of Davao after the fire started Saturday morning, and “their chances of survival is zero,” said Paolo Duterte, the city’s vice mayor.

“Our firemen are still struggling to find a way in as the fire is still burning,” Mr. Duterte said.

Mr. Duterte’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, made an unannounced visit to the mall on Saturday night and met with victims’ family members. Photos released by his office, showed the president consoling relatives and wiping tears from his eyes.

The president “assured the relatives of the victims that the government would extend help,” said Harry Roque, the president’s spokesman.


The blaze began Saturday morning. Twenty-four hours later the fire continued to burn, making it too dangerous for firefighters to enter the building.

Ashley Nicole Avila Rafaela, via REUTERS

President Duterte was formerly mayor of Davao City. He was in town on Saturday for the holiday weekend.

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