OAKLAND (KRON) –Thirty-three bodies have been found and possibly dozens of people are still missing as of Sunday morning from inside a two-story Oakland warehouse being used as an artist collective that caught on fire during a party Friday night.
Seven people have been identified and their families have been notified.
An Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy lost his son in the fire.
The victims in the fire are as young as 17 years old.
U.C. Berkeley reported that three of their students are missing.
Authorities said they feared the toll could rise as high as 40 from the fire. Several dozen have been found alive.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said Saturday the bodies have been taken to the coroner’s office to be identified.
Kelly says there are more bodies trapped in the debris that are hard to reach and need to be “cut from the wreckage.”
He says excavators, a crane and dumpster trucks are being brought in to help in the recovery and the building is being flooded with light to allow crews to work through the night.
Kelly says crews will have to move very slowly as they pull out debris and look for more victims.
The fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. at a warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship”.
Oakland fire chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said at least another 25 people were unaccounted for as of Saturday morning and authorities were working to verify who was in the cluttered warehouse when the fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said authorities were prepared to deal with 30 to 40 deaths.
Between 50 and 100 people were believed to have been at the party when the fire started, Deloche-Reed said. It was not immediately clear what started the fire, but there did not appear to be sprinklers in the building, she said.
The interior of the warehouse “made it difficult for people to escape,” Deloche-Reed said.
The warehouse was partitioned into artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins, statues, lamps, and other objects and did not have a clear entry or exit path, the fire chief said. The only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets.