On Friday night in the Californian district of Fruitvale, a fire took over a two-story warehouse, killing a total of 9 people. The authorities are announcing the possibility of 30 more deaths, as 25 people remain missing at the time.
Video recordings show how the warehouse was covered in smoke and flames when local response forces arrived at the scene around 11:30 pm. The building located at the 31st Avenue and International Boulevard, about three miles outside of downtown Oakland, was hosting a party on the second floor, where the dead bodies were found. The electronic artist Golden Donna was going to perform at the event that was scheduled to last until 4 a.m. and included other musicians and visual projections.
According to declarations by Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed, given to the Washington Post, more than 50 persons were inside the building at the time of the fire. She said that this is the first time in her life that she experienced something of this magnitude. She has been working for 30 years in the Oakland Fire Department.
Sgt. Ray Kelly from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a press conference after the incident that officials are “prepared to deal with up to 30 to 40 deceased people.” Right now, there are over 25 people missing, and officials are doing extensive search operations.
The warehouse is known as “Oakland Ghost Ship”, and it is often used by young people to throw parties or artists exhibitions. According to local authorities, a great amount of these people that assist the events at the warehouse are foreigners from outside the Bay Area.
Facebook is helping to solve the investigation
A total of 176 people had planned to assist to the party, as the official Facebook page of the event showed. This page is now inundated with requests from friends and family of the people who attended the party that are asking for any information regarding their loved ones. Even a Google Docs Spreadsheet has been created with the names of the missing people alongside the contact information of their relatives.
The Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed stated that fire officials are investigating the names and verifying all the information in both platforms. A team of 72 firefighters is working on the incident.
A group had to fight the fire from the outside because temperatures inside the building was too intense. According to a member of the Oakland Fire Department, three sides of the building were burning in flames.
Oakland Major Libby Schaaf has pronounced on the matter while recognizing the greatness of the incident and thanking enormously the local authorities.
“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy. I am grateful to our first responders for their efforts to deal with this deadly fire. Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy,” the major said in a press conference this Saturday.
Source: The Washington Post