36 Bodies Found In Oakland Warehouse Fire
Last Friday night at a warehouse in Oakland, CA, people were gathered for a party inside the two story building for concert called the Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour when a deadly fire broke out, claiming the lives of at least 36 people.
Fire officials say this was the deadliest fire since the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 that claimed 25 lives.
“We had firefighters with basically coveralls and buckets and shovels taking bits of debris out into the vacant lot to be loaded into dump trucks and removed to an off-site location,” said Oakland battalion Fire Chief Melinda Drayton.
The warehouse fire claimed victims from ages as young as 17 to adults in their mid 30’s, one of them being a deputy’s son.
“When we started this investigation, if you would have told us we would have 33 victims, we wouldn’t have believed you,” said Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly, describing the death toll as an “astronomical number.” Kelly added that the severity of the fire “hit very close to home,” referring to the loss of the deputy’s son. “Our department is hurting from that.”
— KTVU (@KTVU) December 3, 2016
KXLY tells the story of 27 year old Bob Mulè, who had to leave a fellow artist behind.
After seeing the flames, Mulé ran to find a fire extinguisher. He found one, but could not open the pin. When Mulé turned back to save his camera and laptop, he spotted a fellow artist who called out for help. Mulé suspected that heavy-set artist had broken his ankle after falling from the second floor.
“I was pulling him out,” said Mulé, who suffered burns from the fire. “The flames were too much. There was too much smoke and … I had to let him go.”
As firefighters cautiously search through the rubble, they warn and expect the death toll to rise. Half of the warehouse has yet to be searched.
The old warehouse was allegedly cited for 3 violations within the last year and was under investigation by the city. It was, however, permitted for use as a warehouse.
Officials say that the event holders did not obtain a permit for the concert, therefore the building was not inspected for it properly. There was also no evidence of fire sprinklers throughout the ceiling of the building or fire alarms.
“It is far too early to have suspicions about what caused this fire,” stated Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Alameda County prosecutors have assigned criminal investigators to examine the delicate scene that has taken the lives of so many.