At the site of the fire on December 23 (Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – As many as 37 people were believed to be killed in a fire that broke out at a shopping mall in the southern Philippine city of Davao on December 23.

A Bureau of Fire Protection commander at the scene said the chance of the 37 surviving were "zero", Paolo Duterte, the vice mayor, wrote in a Facebook post.

The blaze started at the four-storey NCCC Mall on December 23 morning and spread to other places. Many people were trapped inside, including in a call centre on the top floor, said a local police.

The fire was not controlled until early December 24.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who served as mayor of Davao for about two
decades, visited the mall on December 23 night to comfort relatives of the victims.

Davao is the biggest city in the southern Philippines. It is about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) south of Manila.-VNA