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9 Dead, 25 Still Missing In 3-Alarm Oakland Warehouse Fire

OAKLAND (CBS/AP/BCN) -- At least nine people died and dozens were missing after a blaze that raged through a converted warehouse in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood where a party was underway late Friday night.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire


Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said up to another 25 people were unaccounted for as of Saturday morning.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said authorities were prepared to deal with 30 to 40 deaths.

The fire started about 11:30 p.m. Friday at 1305 31st Ave at a warehouse and performance space. It tore through the building during an event featuring electronic dance musician Golden Donna (also known as Joel Shanahan), who records for Los Angeles-based label 100% Silk.

Chief Deloche-Reed said the building had no sprinklers and was partitioned into artist studios.

Chopper 5 Aerial Shows Burned Artist Collective Warehouse, Scene of Deadly Overnight Fire
KPIX 5 helicopter aerial view of the burned-out warehouse where several died late Friday night in Oakland. (CBS)

Between 50 and 100 people were believed to have been at the party when the fire started, Deloche-Reed said. It was not immediately clear what started the fire.

The interior of the warehouse "made it difficult for people to escape," Deloche-Reed said.

The warehouse was partitioned into artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins, statues, lamps, and other objects and did not have a clear entry or exit path, the fire chief said. The only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets.

"There is still a large portion of the building that still needs to be searched," she said. "There is large timber and debris that will need to be removed and it's going to have to be removed in a slow and methodical way."

She says the roof collapsed and there is a lot of debris that will have to be painstakingly removed.

"It was too hot, too much smoke, I had to get out of there," Bob Mule, a photographer and artist who lives at the building and suffered minor burns, told the East Bay Times. "I literally felt my skin peeling and my lungs being suffocated by smoke. I couldn't get the fire extinguisher to work."

People used a Facebook page Saturday to post and seek information on family and friends who may have been in the building.

Oakland police urged those concerned about missing people to call the Alameda County Sheriff's Coroner's Bureau at 510-382-3000.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson says officials with the coroner's office haven't recovered any bodies from because the building is still deemed unsafe.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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