People watch as smoke rises from burning mall's 3rd floor, in Davao City, Philippines, in this December 23, 2017 picture obtained from social media. (Courtesy Otto van Dacula via REUTERS)
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At least 37 people, including call center staff from an American firm, are believed to have perished in a fire that tore through a shopping mall in the southern Philippine city of Davao, local authorities said Sunday.President Rodrigo Duterte, himself a Davao native, visited distraught relatives outside the burning building overnight but told them there was "zero" chance their loved ones had survived, witnesses told AFP.Quimsing said he spoke to President Duterte and had been told to prepare for the worst.Mayor Duterte said she told the fire-fighters to retrieve all the dead, stressing: "you do not stop until you find 37 ".She also said the circumstances surrounding the fire would be investigated but added that it was too early to say who was at fault.Davao, with a population of about 1.5 million people, is the biggest city in the southern Philippines.In the deadliest fire in the Philippines in recent times, 162 people were killed in a huge blaze that gutted a Manila disco in 1996 .
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