Death toll rises to 36 in Oakland warehouse fire

Photo: KRON

OAKLAND (KRON) —  On Monday, search crews continued to comb through the wreckage of a deadly fire that tore through a warehouse dance party late Friday night.

At least 36 bodies have been recovered, and fire officials say “we absolutely believe the number of fatalities will increase.”

Authorities are asking family member and friends to save DNA from missing victims to try to help identify the bodies.

The warehouse, known as the “Ghost Ship Building,” was home to a revolving door of local artists who used the space to perform and to display their work.

This created a mirage of highly flammable objects, which contributed to the rapid outbreak of flames.

There are still several people missing, and 30 percent of the building remains unexplored.

Oakland Fire Chief Melinda Drayton is a 19-year veteran of Oakland fire. She says this is the most deadly blaze she’s encountered in her almost two decades of service.

President Obama released a statement calling it “one of the worst fires in the state’s history.” The full statement follows:

“Today our prayers go out to the people of Oakland, California in the aftermath of this weekend’s deadly warehouse fire – one of the worst fires in the state’s history. While we still don’t know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people – including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them – have tragically lost their lives. I want to thank the dedicated first responders who have been working tirelessly for days to contain the situation, recover victims, and treat the wounded. My Administration is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure that authorities have everything they need as they continue response operations and investigate the cause of the fire. Oakland is one of the most diverse and creative cities in our country, and as families and residents pull together in the wake of this awful tragedy, they will have the unwavering support of the American people.”

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