The death toll resulting from the Oakland warehouse party fire on Friday night has risen to 24 since officials’ last report, with the number expected to climb even further as their search of the wreckage continues.
Even though crews worked through the night to clear the debris, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said that they’ve only been able to search about 20 percent of the “Ghost Ship” building’s remains. The search for bodies is expected to continue for another 48 hours.
The space, an illegal live-work residence, has been described by those who frequented it as very unsafe. According to former residents, the building had few exits, piles of wood and electrical cords and a makeshift staircase. The water and power were stolen from neighbors, and it often did not work.
Danielle Boudreaux, a friend of the couple who owned the building, described the maze guests would have to navigate if they wanted to find an exit.
“If you were not familiar with the building and the way that it was, if you were going there for a party, you wouldn’t be aware of the maze that you have to go through to get out.”
Around 100 people were drawn to the building’s top floor on Friday for a dance party put on by LA-based label 100% Silk’s West Coast tour.
While authorities continue to investigate the source of the fire, officials said that the materials and clutter in the building’s interior may have served as a tinderbox.
The fire began 11:30 p.m. on Friday, and wasn’t full extinguished until after 4:00 a.m.