UPDATE (10:30 a.m. 12/5/16):
As of early Monday morning, at least 36 people have been confirmed dead, and officials are warning that the death toll will likely continue to rise, according to the New York Times. At least 11 victims, including the son of a local police officer, have been positively identified.
The initial response from the warehouse operator, Derick Ion Almena, has sparked outrage. "Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone," Almena wrote in a Facebook post early Saturday morning. "Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound … it’s as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope … to be standing now in poverty of self worth." The post, notably, did not mention the victims.
According to Yahoo News, other users immediately criticized the post. Calling the operator "a real piece of work," one user pointed out, "Not one mention of the people burned to death in your death trap building." Another person wrote, "All you worked on? What about those who have died? I lost two very close and dear friends in the fire and all you seem to care about is whatever material stuff you owned, which can be replaced unless the lives your death trap has taken."
Another user encouraged Almena to "Lawyer up, buddy," because "You're going to need it." According to SFGate.com, several people on Facebook wrote that they had told Almena about how unsafe the building was. "Derick you were warned," one user wrote. "Every time I came to your house I warned you and you just laughed." Former tenants described the building as a tinderbox "with few exits, a rickety makeshift staircase, piles of driftwood, and a labyrinth of electrical cords." The warehouse was also under investigation to determine whether or not it was being used illegally for housing.
Twenty-four individuals have been confirmed dead after firefighters spent most of the night combing through the destruction leftover after a fire ravaged a warehouse rave in Oakland, California. Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told reporters during a press conference Sunday that the search for additional victims could take days.
“We have located 24 deceased victims of this fire,” he said, per the New York Times. “We anticipate that the number of victims will rise.”
Calling the fire "one of the deadliest structure fires in the United States in the last decade," the New York Times reports firefighters located 15 bodies overnight, confirming speculation that the death toll could number as high as 40 victims. The figure had risen from initial estimations after the list of missing persons compiled by friends and family of attendees "had grown to about 35 people."
See original story below.
At least nine people have died after a massive fire broke out at a rave in Oakland, California late Friday night. NBC reports another 20 people are missing, and early Saturday morning firefighters were still working to put out the flames.
On Friday night, dozens of people gathered inside the warehouse building in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, which served as a live-work space for artists, for a dance party. The party billed as a “Rave Cave” was hosted by electronic label 100% Silk and featured the music of artists including Golden Donna. The New York Daily News reports an estimated 30 to 70 people attended the rave, while the Daily Mail says the number was closer to 100.
Around 11:30 p.m., a fire broke out in the warehouse. Authorities are still unsure what caused the fire, but the sheriff's office in Alameda County is treating the fire as an accident and not a criminal event.
Nine people have been confirmed dead, but as the flames were still being fought Saturday morning, authorities say more victims could be found. So far, 13 people believed to be at the party are unaccounted for.
“We don’t know the potential number of other victims,” Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed told the East Bay Times. “This is a true loss for the city, for the firefighters who responded, and the people who lost family and friend. It’s just tragic—a real tragedy.”
On the event's Facebook page, friends and families of those believed to be missing posted names and photos hoping for more information on their whereabouts. Other attendees confirmed their own safety.
Authorities are requesting photos and information about those believed to be missing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau at 510-382-3000.