Authorities are working through the night to recover more victims of a deadly warehouse concert fire that engulfed a converted warehouse crowded with electronic dance music fans attending a concert Friday night.
UPDATE: December 4, 11:28am – Authorities have found 24 bodies as of now at the wreckage of the event. Search is still underway. No word on age of those found, however, they’ve ranged from as young as 17.
According to authorities, nine bodies have been recovered. However, Sgt. Ray Kelly of Alameda County said officials were prepared for up to 40 fatalities. Many of those inside the event were young, including some foreigners.
Kelly said that about two dozen people were believed to be missing have been found. However, at least two dozen remain missing, and officials fear the death toll will increase as the search continues.
“If anyone knows ‘Flip’ Bowers. PLEASE let me know if he is ok,” a person wrote on Facebook just fifteen minutes ago. “Just please let me know what happened to him. PLEASE.”
Kelly said investigators had launched drones with thermal imaging capability over the gutted building to help officials find additional victims.
The building’s roof caved in, and debris will make the search effort difficult. The teens said they paid $10 to get into the warehouse party, which was advertised online.
Kevin Longton, who lives at the Vulcan Lofts, less than a mile from where the fire took place, told the LA Times the warehouse was well-known for holding rave-style dance parties. He went to one about a year ago, never saw any sprinklers and felt the place was an accident waiting to happen.
“Unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. … We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families,” the event organizers wrote on social media.
The warehouse was known as the “Oakland Ghost Ship.” Its website showed pictures of a bohemian, loft-like interior made of wood and cluttered with rugs, old sofas and a garage-sale like collection of pianos, paintings, turntables, statues and other items.