UPDATE, Dec. 5, 9 a.m.: By the time rescue crews stopped working on Sunday, with 70% of the building searched, 36 bodies had been removed from the wreckage, and authorities expect the death toll to rise further. No survivors have so far been found inside the building, and the whereabouts of many people are still unaccounted for.
Since the blaze, many have criticized the owner of the venue, who despite living in the warehouse with his family failed to enact proper fire safety precautions. It appears the building did not have smoke detectors or sprinklers, and it’s been reported that at least one survivor couldn’t get a fire extinguisher to work.
ORIGINAL POST: A fire broke out in an Oakland, Calif., warehouse late Friday night that has left at least nine people dead and emergency responders searching for at least a dozen more in the ashes. The converted warehouse space was hosting an electronic music party where many of those present were our queer brothers and sisters.
The inferno—which began around 11:30 p.m.—reportedly left many trapped on the building’s second floor.
The Ghost Ship in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood was an artists’ studio, according to The New York Times, and was the site of a show being presented by a group of musicians, producers and DJs. The event’s Facebook page, which had more than 200 RSVPs, had by Saturday become “an emergency message board” with dozens posting about friends and family members feared lost in the fire. The musicians and DJs scheduled to perform are among those unaccounted for.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Officials have thus far said they expect the death toll to rise to several dozen.
The fire has since been extinguished, though it took around five hours to do so. The fire officials’ search was made more difficult when the warehouse’s roof collapsed, which meant the coroner’s office was unable to recover bodies until nearly seven hours after the fire.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called the fire “an immense tragedy” and said in a statement, “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.”
Donations are being accepted here for those affected by the Oakland fire. The Oakland A’s baseball team will be matching donations up to $20,000.