Firefighters are continuing to sift through the wreckage of a warehouse that caught fire Friday night during a large gathering, killing at least nine people.
Oakland Fire Department Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said there are still 25 people unaccounted for.
The fire was first reported at the two-story building around 11:32 p.m. at 1305 31st Ave.
Although the fire has been put out, firefighters are searching the building for additional victims. Deloach Reed said:
“There is still a large portion of the building that needs to be searched.”
The setup inside the building made it hard for people to escape.
Partitions and other structures inside the warehouse made exiting more difficult, according to Deloach Reed.
She said there appears to have been only one stairwell leading from the first to the second floor. That makeshift staircase appears to have been made from pallets, she said.
Deloach Reed said:
“If the fire started in that area, then everyone on the second floor would have not been able to escape. I don’t know where the fire started, but I know the way the building was situated, it really made it difficult for people to escape.”
People who managed to escape the blaze gave firefighters a list of people who were unaccounted for. Deloach Reed said she doesn’t believe paramedics transported any injured people to the hospital.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The building is a live/work space, according to the Oakland Police Department.
A party with musical acts was happening at the warehouse when the fire broke out. According to the event’s Facebook page, the event was called the “Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour.” The page had dozens of people commenting this morning, asking about loved ones who are still unaccounted for.
Police are asking anyone looking for missing persons associate with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau at (510) 382-3000.