Oakland emergency officials show members of the media aerial images from the burned out warehouse at a news conference on Monday, December 5, 2016. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Search of burned warehouse completed; no more bodies found

An Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday that no more bodies were found as fire crews completed their search through the wreckage of a warehouse that caught fire during a party in Oakland’s Fruitvale district on Friday night, leaving the final death toll for the tragic fire at 36.

Sgt. Ray Kelly said some sheriff’s deputies will remain at the warehouse at 1315 31st Ave. to assist federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators who are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which began at 11:30 p.m. Friday.

Sheriff’s officials have equipment that ATF investigators are using during their investigation, Kelly said.

Now that the search for bodies is finished, the number of firefighters, police officers and other authorities who’ve been at the scene since the fire broke out will be “dramatically reduced,” he said.

All streets in the area, including International Boulevard, will be opened up.

Kelly said 35 of the 36 bodies that have been recovered have been identified but coroner’s officials will have to use dental records or DNA to identify the victim who remains unidentified because that person’s burn injuries were so severe.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder said Tuesday afternoon that a refrigerator near the back of the building was a possible ignition source, but that has not been conclusively determined.

Snyder said investigators are also looking at other appliances and electrical outlets as possibly being the source of the blaze, and said there is no indication at this point that the fire was intentionally set.

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed was more cautious in her comments to reporters on Tuesday night, saying that the origin and cause of the fire remain undetermined.Bay Area News

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