The death toll in late Friday night’s Oakland warehouse fire has risen to 24 in what is believed to be the deadliest blaze in the city’s recent history.
Fire and emergency officials made the grim announcement at a news conference Sunday morning. Previously, authorities had confirmed up to nine people had died in the fire that broke out around 11:30 p.m. at 1305 31st Ave., a warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship” that was being used by an artist collective and hosted the party with musical acts Friday night.
SEE RELATED: How you can help victims of the Oakland fire
Just 20 percent of the building had been searched as of Sunday morning, and an Alameda sheriff’s official said more bodies are expected to be found as the search continues.
None of the victims’ identities have been released.
Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly on Saturday said many of the victims were young adults in their 20s. He said investigators were not aware of any minors that were in there.
The search was described by Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton as “somber” and “heartbreaking.”
Kelly said only three families have been notified and he expects more names to be released later Sunday as the search continues.
The search is expected to last several more days.
Earlier Saturday, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said there appeared to be only one makeshift stairwell made of wooden pallets leading from the first to second floor.
The event taking place Friday night had a page on Facebook titled “”Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour” that attracted dozens of comments Saturday from people trying to find out information about their loved ones who are still missing.
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.
People can also call the Alameda County coroner’s bureau at (510) 382-3000 for more information.
The property at 1305 31st Ave. is owned by Chor N. Ng and city records show complaints were made as recently as mid-November about the site.
A notice of violation was given on Nov. 13 about “a ton of garbage piling up on the property,” with “the main building remodel (sic) for residential,” city records show.
Oakland director of planning and building Darin Ranelletti said the building was only legally permitted for use as a warehouse and that Friday’s party was not permitted by the city.