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Victims Remembered In Oakland Fire As Search For More Bodies Continues

OAKLAND ( — A criminal investigation is currently underway to reveal the cause of a massive warehouse fire that claimed the lives of at least 36 people in Oakland.

Authorities held a news conference Monday morning to provide updates about the investigation.


Officials have now identified at least 17 victims who died in the blaze.

One of the victims killed in the fire has been identified as David Cline, 24, of Santa Monica.

Another victim is the son of an Alameda County Sheriff's deputy.

DONATE: Click Here To Help The Victims And Their Families

Among those still missing is Vanessa Plotkin, 21, of Lakewood.

Firefighters are currently facing huge obstacles in recovering the rest of the remains due to a leaning wall in the structure, which halted work overnight.

"For us as firefighters, working under a wobbly potentially collapsing exterior wall is extremely dangerous," Fire Battalion Chief said. "We will not put our firefighters in danger at this point, and we will not put Alameda County sheriffs at precarious situation with us."

The fire was reported around 11:30 p.m. Friday during an electronic dance music party.

Officials believe 50 to 100 people may have attended the event.

More than 20 people lived in the warehouse at any given time.

According to police, the building was not permitted for a living space.

Attention has turned to Derick Ion, who is reportedly the head of the Oakland Ghost Ship artists collective, a live-work warehouse and what is now the scene of the deadliest fire in Oakland's history.

In some YouTube videos, his behavior appears erratic. In others, he talks about what he calls the festival culture, offering a rambling description of his desire for a simplistic life.

"Build things out of the earth," Ion said.  "Oh my god that's a life."

Ion sparked backlash on Facebook after this post appeared on his page early Saturday morning:

"Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound... it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and be standing now in poverty of self worth."

A video from 2012 depicts an elaborate concert called "Viva Muerta" or "Living Dead," complete with flames.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Police have urged those who are concerned about missing people to call the Alameda County Sheriff's Coroner's Bureau at (510) 382-3000.

FULL COVERAGE:  Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire

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