Filipino firefighters find all 37 bodies of workers in mall

DAVAO, Philippines (AP) -- Philippine firefighters have found all 37 bodies of employees of a U.S.-based company who were trapped in a blaze that gutted a shopping mall in southern Davao city.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said firefighters initially found one body at the NCCC Mall on Sunday, but that extreme heat and thick smoke prevented them from retrieving the bodies of the 36 other employees until Monday.

Senior Superintendent Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu, regional director of the Bureau of Fire Protection, relayed the news to the employees' relatives, who broke into tears.

The mall fire is the latest in a series of tragedies that hit the Philippines amid the Christmas holidays. A tropical storm left more than 160 people dead and 171 others missing before it blew out of the south Sunday.