At least 24 die in fire in central Philippines

At least 24 people died in a fire that engulfed a one-story department store in the central Philippines on Christmas Day, police said Tuesday. The fire, believed to have been caused by firecrackers, swept through the store in Ormoc city, 550 kilometers southeast of Manila, leaving many vendors and customers trapped inside, acting provincial police director Senior Superintendent Manuel Cobillo said. At least five people were injured. Two of them are in critical condition, he said.