DAVAO CITY, Philippines – There are signs that a man whose body was found charred to death inside the burnt NCCC Mall in Davao tried to rescue dozens of call center agents trapped by the fire.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio bared this on Wednesday, December 27, after authorities raised the death toll in the disaster to 38.
Melvin Gaa was not an employee of the outsourcing company SSI Philippines, said Duterte-Carpio. Instead, he was working for NCCC Mall, and was part of his company's disaster response team.
"If you look at the location of his body, it looks like he was coming to their rescue," she told reporters.
The mayor's statement came after NCCC Mall spokesperseon Thea Padua confirmed that Gaa was among the casualties.
"Melvin had already brought down several SSI employees and was already seen having safely exited the building at the ground floor," Padua earlier said on Tuesday, December 26.
But instead of heading downstairs, he went his way up again "to try to save more people." (IN PHOTOS: Duterte cries with kin of Davao mall fire victims)
The new information reinforces accounts that made rounds on social media after the incident, which said that apart from the dozens of call center agents killed by fire, there was one mall employee who worked at the department store who was earlier seen alive, but later could no longer be found.
For the past few days, posts on Facebook read that family members have been looking for him, and were hoping he was just somewhere, alive and only missing.