Update: According to AP, the sheriff says officials prepared to deal with up to 40 deaths in Oakland, California nightclub fire.
BREAKING: Sheriff says officials prepared to deal with up to 40 deaths in Oakland, California nightclub fire.— The Associated Press (@AP) December 3, 2016
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At least nine people were confirmed dead and 25 others are unaccounted for after a fire broke out during a rave at a "huge" warehouse in Oakland, California, local media reported on Saturday, according to city fire officials, cited by KTVU.
The fire was first reported Friday night at 11:30 p.m., on 31st Avenue and International Boulevard. The building houses a group of artists and their studios, according to police. The building in the Fruitvale district housed units where people lived and worked, and it had no sprinkler system, Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times newspaper.
The blaze broke out on 31st Ave in Oakland during a party advertised as a ‘Rave Cave’ as part of musician Golden Donna’s ‘100% Silk’ West Coast tour. A Facebook event page showed 176 people planned to attend the party, which featured a performance by the electronic music act Golden Donna. The page, which listed 355 others as interested in going, carried posts from people who were either missing or accounted for.
Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said that at least another 13 people are still unaccounted for after the deadly blaze started around 11:30pm in the 1300 block of 31st Avenue during an event advertised as 'Rave Cave' featuring musician Golden Donna's 100% Silk West Coast tour. Officials said they were informed that between 30 and 70 patrons were at the event when the fire broke out, the East Bay Times reports.
'We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don't know the potential number of other victims,' Deloche-Reed said.
Fire officials were still trying to determine how the fire started, the fire chief, who described the building as "huge", said. She added the roof had collapsed, complicating efforts to recover bodies.
“There is a large majority of that building that has not been searched,” Deloach-Reed said during a press briefing.
"We are hoping that the number nine is what there is and that there are no more,” the fire chief said, referring to the number of known fatalities. “But we have not done a complete search of the building."
An aggressive attack on the fire was underway when conditions suddenly changed and firefighters had to go back outside.
As of 4:20am PT, the fire was not officially under control, as smoke was still coming from an upper floor in the building, the Times reported.
31st Ave- crews will remain on scene for several more hours. 2 ladder pipes and hand lines still deployed extinguishing hot spots. #oakland— Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) December 3, 2016
Sabrina May Dolan told DailyMail.com that her sister, Chelsea Faith, was performing at the party under her stage name Cherushii when the fire started on the second floor of the building.
As RT notes, dozens of people posted on the event’s Facebook page to say that they had safely escaped the fire, while others are inquiring about friends and relatives yet unaccounted for.
One, Eveline Darroch, wrote: “I am here with the fire inspector going through the list of missing names of missing/safe. At this point there are several threads. I am requesting that you only post in this thread their name and missing or safe next to it. Thank you.”
A Twitter account that posts about Oakland firefighters reported that the fire has gone through the roof and all units have been told to withdraw from the building. There has been no official update from the Oakland Fire Department, however.