Charred windows and walls of the artist's collective Ghost Ship. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Warehouse fire victim count holds at 36 with 85 percent of building searched

Crews sifting through the remains of the Ghost Ship warehouse following Friday’s devastating fire in Oakland’s Fruitvale district have now searched 85 percent of the building, officials said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The victim count of the three-alarm fire that tore through a party at the building at 1305 31st Ave. has held at 36, Alameda County sheriff’s Deputy Tya Modeste said.

SEE RELATED: Search for bodies continues in Oakland fire wreckage as criminal investigation begins

The Alameda County coroner’s bureau has notified 26 victims’ families, Modeste said. Nine victims have been tentatively identified, and one victim is still unidentified.

The coroner’s bureau has released the names of 17 victims. An 18th victim, a 17-year-old San Francisco high school student, was identified by his school.

Click here for a list of victims who have been identified.

First responders halted recovery efforts Monday morning after discovering a wobbly section of an exterior wall that threatened to collapse.

Crews brought in a large crane and other heavy equipment to remove a parapet wall that presented the greatest danger and put in shoring to stabilize some of the floor, Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Robert Lipp said.

At 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, crews continued to search the building and will continue to do so throughout the day.

One corner of the building remains too unstable to search. A second, smaller area in the back of the warehouse is still being processed by federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Lipp said that he does not expect to find more victims in the two remaining areas, though he said that the section in the unstable corner “has some potential.”

Crews will search the area as soon as they install exterior bracing Tuesday, he said.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has launched a criminal investigation of the incident.

Oakland police Officer Marco Marquez said today that community members wishing to donate to the victims’ families should do so at https://www.youcaring.com/firevictimsofoaklandfiredec232016-706684. More than $376,000 had been raised as of this morning.Bay Area News

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