OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly both responded to the warehouse fire.
Firefighters responded to the 3-alarm fire at 1305 31st Avenue in Oakland around 11:30 p.m. Friday night. A concert was taking place at the building that some are referring to as the “Ghost Ship Building.” It is not known exactly how many people were inside when the flames broke out, but about 200 RSVP’d on a Facebook event page.
The makeshift infrastructure of the building, along with endless amounts of fallen debris have made the search for more victims a strenuous challenge.
There is still “water coming down”, “beams”, and other “debris they have to maneuver through”, Kelly said in a live press conference.
He believes the victims are mostly young people, in the 20-30-year-old range. He also confirmed that nine people were dead at that time, but speculates there could be more. However, he is “Not going to get into the numbers game,” Kelly said. The first priority is tending to the victims and their families.
More bodies have been recovered since that press conference, bringing the death toll to 24.
Mayor Schaaf responded in a press release, expressing similar feelings as Kelly. The victims, their families, and finding those who are still missing are her top priorities at this time, Schaaf said in the following statement.
“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy. I am grateful to our first responders for their efforts to deal with this deadly fire. Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy.
“We are fully committed to sharing as much information as we can as quickly as possible. The most critical information to share at this time is the phone number where victims’ families can get information which is (510) 382-3000 at the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.”
Since this release, the amount of phone calls has been “overwhelming,” Sgt. Kelly said. He asks that people only call that number if they have a critical and legitimate concern about another missing person.