Rescue teams recover body from Davao mall

AVAO CITY — Fire rescue teams recovered one charred body inside the comfort room of the fourth floor of the New City Commercial Center (NCCC) Mall in Davao City on Sunday morning, where 37 call center agents of the Survey Sampling International (SSI) were reportedly trapped in a fire that hit the shopping mall on Saturday.

As of 8 a.m. December 24, authorities declared the fire under control, more than 24 hours after the blaze started around 9 a.m. Saturday.

In a press conference, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) is still assessing the identity of the recovered body.

She said rescuers are doing their best to find the other missing persons trapped in the fire.

The mayor said there were 37 missing persons in the list of the CSSDO, while based on the master list of the SSI, there were 36 unaccounted employees of the call center company.

“As of 11:20 a.m., the personnel of Bureau of Fire and Protection continue their retrieval operation. They will not stop until they found the 36 there,” Duterte-Carpio said.

She said authorities were unable to enter the fourth floor of the four-story building due to the blaze, smoke, and scorching heat that could also endanger rescuers’ lives.

“They were just meters away from the SSI office, but they cannot enter because of the heat, they might just melt in there,” Duterte-Carpio said.

She assured the relatives of the fire victims of assistance from the city government.

“The city will take care of the needs of the families,” she added.

The families have been transferred to the third floor of the JICA building while waiting for news about their loved ones.