DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – More than 30 people are feared dead in a tragic fire incident that broke out in a mall here two days before Christmas.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, December 24, broke this distressing news to relatives of people who were reported trapped inside NCCC Mall of Davao since Saturday morning.

There is zero chance of survival, the tearful President told the families.

Duterte was with Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, and other religious workers who were seen patting the backs of families who were weeping.

They were inside a restaurant hundreds of meters away from NCCC Mall of Davao which at the time Duterte announced the news, was still under fire.

“We’re helpless, but we have a God,” Valles said in an interview with the media.

Fire broke out around 9:30 am on December 23, razing the mall that would have extended operating hours to customers preparing for Christmas Eve.

Rescue teams brought with them firefighting trucks, as others went on to get inside the building to rescue the trapped people.

They were identified as employees of a business process outsourcing company which held office on the fourth level of the mall.

Survey Sampling International (SSI) Davao, their employer, reported that 30 of them were on lists of missing people.

One out of the 30 have been rescued, according to Alagano.

The mall blaze on Saturday was the biggest fire incident this month as a “general alarm” siren was toggled on that day.

“It required support resources from nearby provinces in Region 11,” Alagano said in Cebuano.

This is the second time a mall was hit by fire this year, the first being the open mall of Gaisano Capitol in Barangay Mintal in January. (with reports from Mick Basa / davaotoday.com)

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