At least 33 people died in Friday night’s warehouse fire in Oakland, authorities said Sunday afternoon.
As of 3:15 p.m., crews had searched around 40 percent of the building at 1305 31st Ave., Sgt. Ray Kelly said during a news conference.
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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said representatives with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are at the scene, although she didn’t say if criminal charges would be filed.
“We’re doing everything we can to preserve evidence,” Schaaf said. “We want to get to the bottom of how this happened.”
Some of the victims included non-citizens as well as teenagers, according to Kelly.
Kelly also confirmed that one of the victims was a son of an Alameda County deputy. “We’re still dealing with that as we deal with the other victims, and our department is hurting from that,” Kelly said.
While sheriff’s officials have been able to identify some of the victims and speak with their families, Kelly said the identities of those victims are not being released.
Authorities also asked family members and friends of possible victims to preserve items that contain DNA, like toothbrushes and hair combs, that can be used to help identify bodies.
The fire broke out at about 11:30 p.m. Friday at the warehouse that was being used by an artist collective and hosted the party with musical acts that night.
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Federal agents were assisting with the search.
“One by one, piece by piece,” was how Kelly described the search for victims amid the wreckage, later adding, the “likelihood is not very good of survivability.”
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A Family Assistance Center has been set up at 2425 E. 12th St. where family and friends can go to find out information about loved ones, and people can also call the Alameda County coroner’s bureau at (510) 382-3000 for more information.
Kelly said some bodies were easier to identify because a wallet or other identification was found near them, but others will require DNA or dental records to confirm identities.
Meanwhile, the smell of smoke lingered in the Fruitvale neighborhood late Sunday morning, some 32 hours after the fire broke out.