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11 dead in Philippine department store fire

world Updated: May 09, 2012 14:02 IST

At least 11 shop clerks sleeping in a Philippines' department store were killed when a fire swept through the building before dawn on Wednesday, local authorities said.

Twenty-one female employees of the store were trapped in the fire, with seven others still missing and three surviving by jumping from a second-storey window, provincial fire department head chief inspector Mario Palarca told AFP.

"Twenty-one people were asleep on the second floor when the fire struck the ground floor. They could not find the emergency exit because of the huge volume of black smoke," Palarca said by telephone.

The fire occurred in a three-storey department store in Butuan, a small city on the southern island of Mindanao.

In the Philippines, it is common for people in low-paying jobs to sleep at their place of work.