Retrieval ops still on for Alexandra Moreno inside NCCC Mall

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Jan) – Retrieval operation workers will search the first two floors of the gutted four-story NCCC Mall Davao after they failed to find the body of Alexandra Moreno, one of the 38 who perished in the December 23 fire incident.

Fire Supt. Jerry Candido, Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force deputy team leader and spokesperson, told reporters in a teleconference on Tuesday that authorities had already searched last December 31 the location of the offices of the Survey Sampling International (SSI) on the fourth floor and the third floor where the fire emanated but had failed to recover the remains of Moreno.

He said authorities have been given clearance by the task force to locate Moreno’s body inside the mall where some parts had already collapsed while other portions had been weakened by fire.

Families and friends of the 38 persons who perished in the NCCC Mall Davao fire on December 23, 2017 in Davao City light candles on the steps of the mall after a mass on Christmas Day, 25 December 2017. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

Candido added they are requesting the SSI management to allow the authorities to reach out to Moreno’s supervisor as they need information where the victim was last seen when the fire broke out morning of December 23.

He said the information would allow authorities to focus on one location as the area is very wide.

“The help of the SSI personnel, especially her supervisor, is very crucial for us to know the possible area where she could have gone and run to,” he said.

The remains of the 36 fire victims, including Melvin Gaa’s, a key custodian of the mall and member of the NCCC Emergency Action Team (NEAT), were recovered at the lobby of the call center office on the fourth floor on December 25 but Moreno’s was not among them.

The fire stemmed from an electrical short circuit at the ceiling on the third floor around 9:30 a.m. It was declared under control at 8:30 a.m. the following day, Sunday, and put out at 5:15 p.m. of the same day.

Candido said the four-story building must be demolished because it may collapse should an earthquake occur and may endanger the lives of passing pedestrians and drivers.

The other bodies identified by Scene of the Crime Operatives were that of Jeffrey Sismar, Mary Louielyn Bongcayao, Kurtchin Angela Bangoy, Joy Pabelonia, Christen Garzon, Jim Benedict, Jonas Basalan, Jessica Samontina, Venus Joy Quimpo, Jimboy Limosnero, Christine Joy Ferraren, Rosyl Montanez, Missry Rose Artiaga, Rhenzi Nova Muyco, Ivan Nebelle Roble, Elyn Joy Yorsua, Shiela Mae Bacaling, Roderick Antipuesto, Nancy Loyd Abad, Jessica Solis, Charlyn Liwaya, MelvinGaa, Regine Generales, Gantioco Celestial, Apple Jane Celades, Ian Kiem Adlawan, Listen Jade Entera, Analiza Piñajiro, Christine Alviola, Roderick Constantinopla, Dresiree Gayle Zacarias, Johani Matundo, Iana Apalacio, Maryjoy Daloro, Randy Balcao, and Janine Joy Obo. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)