Relaymedia

Oakland Fire Updates: 30 Dead, More Casualties Feared as 80% Of The Area Still Needs Searching

( [email protected] ) Dec 05, 2016 09:02 AM EST
Oakland warehouse party fire claims 30 dead, more expected as authorities are still sifting through the fire scene.
CNN

At least 30 were confirmed dead from the Oakland, California warehouse party fire Friday and dozens more expected as investigators are still searching through the rubble of the burned building.

Hundreds of partygoers, according to the report from BBC, were believed to have been trapped and burned alive inside the warehouse building converted into a rave electric party venue. The gutted building also housed several artist residents that became a sanctuary for their artistic crafts. Only 20% of the area has, so far, been searched.

Firefighters say that this has been the deadliest fire in the city's history in many years. The 1991 Oakland Hills fire that claimed 25 dead pale in comparison to this recent incident, according to Melinda Drayton, Oakland City battalion fire chief.

"We had firefighters with basically coveralls and buckets and shovels taking bits of debris out into the vacant lot to be loaded into dump trucks and removed to an off-site location," Drayton said.

Even after the fire was put out Saturday, firefighters and emergency medical responders were not given the signal to enter the area as it has been deemed unsafe. The top roof of the building collapsed on to the second floor, which then crashed through to parts of the ground level.

The names of the victims of those who died may be released soon as authorities are still validating some of the identities. Investigators are also hoping to get more DNA evidence to further shed light on identities of most, if not all, of those who died in the Oakland fire. There were who survived the incident by escaping through the few windows and doors of the building.

Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly is urging on those who believe may have had any of their loved ones at the warehouse party to preserve DNA evidence that could help them in matching DNA samples to the victims' identities. These samples may be taken from personal items- like toothbrush or hairbrushes- wrapped in a clean paper bag and handed over to them.

The burned building was made with a lot of heavy wood, which could have resulted to the rapid spread of the fire. The building was a former warehouse and has recently been known as "The Ghost Ship". It has become a popular art workspace for artists at the same time a depository for their art works. The roof and ceilings were mostly made of wood.

A weekend rave party was scheduled Friday featuring electric music DJ Golden Donna. Authorities are still determining the cause of the Oakland fire.

 

Tags : oakland city, firefighters, warehouse, artwork