It was supposed to be a fun night out with friends and coworkers at a trendy live-work space in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. The “collective where artists live” hosted a huge rave that featured the best electronica like Golden Donna’s 100% Silk West Coast tour. Local news site East Bay Times reports that the two story warehouse was packed with concert-goers when tragedy struck and “fire raced through” the building as fans tried to escape. There were probably “scores of people were inside the Oakland warehouse when the fire broke out late Friday night,” although definite numbers won’t be known for some time as searches continue.
In minutes, the warehouse was on fire throughout the whole structure, as people on both floors raced desperately to find a way out. One of the artists who lived at the Oakland warehouse said he struggled to help his friend who had broken an ankle in the chaos of the burning building after the fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. Friday night.
The L.A. Times reports that Bob Mule spoke to local Oakland station KTVU-TV about his ordeal. The warehouse resident was “thwarted by the intense fire” and had to leave his fellow artist behind.
“It was too hot, too much smoke, I had to get out of there. I literally felt my skin peeling and my lungs being suffocated by smoke. I couldn’t get the fire extinguisher to work.”
Mule was still searching the warehouse area for his friend hours later. “I hope he’s OK,” he said, sadly.
With nine confirmed dead and “at least another 13 people” unaccounted for as of Saturday morning according to CBS News, hope is fading fast for the survivors who managed to escape the warehouse fire.
Oakland police are asking the lucky ones who got out to contact officials with information about the missing victims of the fire. Anything that will help identify bodies is requested, including “photos and identifying features, piercings, tattoos, clothing they were wearing, weight, birthday, hair color etc.” They are asked to post information to a Facebook event.
The Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said that rescue workers are nowhere near done, and the fire department is continuing to search for victims as well as for the cause of the fire.
“We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don’t know the potential number of other victims.”
Those who did get out are posting to the Facebook Golden Donna concert page as they look for any crumbs of hope after the tragic warehouse fire.
Facebook user and Oakland resident David Marks pinned a post with names of those known to be missing. He pleaded for information from anyone who could confirm the safety of the concert-goers.
“Making a new post with the names we currently have missing at the sherrifs office. PLEASE comment if you know 100% if any of these people are safe. If you DONT see a name here you KNOW to be missing tell us please. And please only comment here if you know something for sure.”
Others are taking to Facebook to offer sympathy and condolences to those who have lost loved ones. Amber Richards, a “UK clubber” wished good luck to the families and friends of the missing warehouse ravers.
“Sad to hear this awful news, so sorry to hear how many have sadly perished. Good luck to all those still missing loved ones, I really hope they turn up. From a fellow UK clubber xXx”
Charlene Washington sent best wishes and a crying face emoticon
“Such a devastating fire…..may those who lost their lives RIP and best wishes to those who have injuries.”
Many are offering help through the page to keep track of missing persons.
“Does anyone know which hospitals – where the injured have been taken? would like to add to resources on the missing persons spreadsheet.”
R.I.P to the victims of the Oakland Warehouse fire.
UPDATE: According to the L.A. Times, the Oakland warehouse fire may have claimed up to forty lives. Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County sheriff’s office confirmed that “officials were prepared for up to 40 fatalities” from the warehouse fire. The latest information is that anyone who didn’t make it out of the warehouse immediately after the fire started, didn’t make it out at all, and “there were relatively few injuries among those who escaped.” Oakland is in mourning for the victims, many of whom were teenagers, as fire and arson experts continue to search the warehouse for survivors. The cause of the warehouse fire is as yet unknown.
[Featured Image by Josh Edelson/AP Images]