36 DEAD, Death Toll Expected To SIGNIFICANTLY Rise- Here’s What We Know (Video)

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California officials confirmed that 33 people have died in a massive fire that swept through a converted Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship,”where a rave concert was taking place over the weekend. The death toll is expected to rise, substantially. 

Fire and police leaders of the recovery effort became emotional as they described finding the bodies massed in bunches while somber rescue workers removed rubble “bucket by bucket,” FOX reports.

“It was quiet. It was heartbreaking,” Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said during a news conference.

Just 20 percent of the warehouse had been searched as of Sunday morning. Authorities expect to be at the site of the blaze for many more days and said the death toll was very likely to rise.

The concert Friday night was the Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour, according to a concert Facebook page.

The concert was being held on a second floor, where most of the recovered bodies were later found. A makeshift stairway put together with pallets was separating it from the first floor.

Firefighters were forced to breach a wall of the warehouse to gain access on Saturday. Within just feet of the breach, rescue workers found the first body. At the center of the building, near a group of collapsed timber rafters, 10 people were found just feet from each other.

Only three official notifications to families had been made as of Sunday morning and authorities were gathering nearby license plates in an effort to match vehicles with owners, hoping to identify others among the deceased. The names of some of the victims were slated to be released later on Sunday.

Drayton said a cause of the fire had yet to be determined, though officials previously said that clutter inside the building had turned it into a tinderbox once the blaze began. There were no sprinklers inside.

The warehouse was an artist workspace and illegal home for a rotating cast of a dozen or more residents, those who lived there or visited often said. Former residents also said it was also a death trap with few exits, a rickety makeshift staircase, piles of driftwood and a labyrinth of electrical cords. The ground floor had five recreational vehicles and other nooks used as living spaces that were rented out to tenants, while the upstairs had space for concerts like the deadly party that drew up to 100 people Friday night.

The rising death toll makes the blaze one of the worst in recent California history.

Alameda County prosecutors have assigned criminal investigators to probe the cause of the deadly fire.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those involved.


ABC (Video)

LA Times


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