Fire hits GenSan mall after deadly quake


Posted at Oct 17 2019 07:45 AM | Updated as of Oct 17 2019 12:20 PM

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Firefighters in the southern city of General Santos gave up sleep as they struggled to put out a blaze that erupted at Gaisano Mall, following a deadly earthquake that was felt across Mindanao. 

The fire started Wednesday night in the mall's first floor, but has spread to the second and third stories as of Thursday morning. 

All mall visitors were evacuated and authorities have yet to receive reports of injuries or fatalities there, as of this posting. 

Firefighters from neighboring Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, were helping put out the blaze. 

Meanwhile, the ceiling in an SM mall in the city collapsed, but there were no immediate reports of anyone injured. 

The magnitude 6.3 quake struck about 22 kilometers southeast of neighboring Tulunan town Wednesday night, leaving at least 4 dead and 60 injured across Mindanao, opening cracks in buildings, and knocking power out. 

Tulunan, General Santos and neighboring Kidapawan City were the worst hit by the quake in Soccskargen region, said its disaster office's public information officer, Jorie Mae Balmediano. 

Aftershocks could be strong and capable of causing severe damage, said Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines seismic agency. 

"Some [aftershocks] can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area," he said. 

The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes. With a report from Reuters 

DZMM, October 17, 2019