By Kristine Guerra
At least nine people are dead and 25 others missing following a fire Friday night during a concert inside a building in Oakland, California, officials said.
The three-alarm fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. at a building off 31st Avenue and International Boulevard, about three miles outside of downtown Oakland, according to the Oakland Police Department.
The fire broke out during a party featuring musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk West Coast Tour. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed told The Washington Post that more 50 people were inside the building, a warehouse that’s been turned into multi-purpose venue for artist exhibits and parties.
“This is pretty tragic for us,” Deloach-Reed said. “It is hitting this community pretty hard. I don’t even want to talk about how the families and friends are feeling. We have a community that’s hurting.”
The event’s Facebook page is now filled with people inquiring if their loved ones have been accounted for. Some asked how they can help.
A list of people who were missing have been created on a Google docs spreadsheet, along with any identifying features and their loved ones’ contact numbers. Twenty-seven names are listed on the spreadsheet; one has been found safe, while two are in the hospital.
Deloach-Reed said fire officials will verify those names against the ones they have.
A total of 72 firefighters responded to the fire, Deloach-Reed said. Crews had to fight the blaze from outside because it was too hot and too intense for firefighters to go inside the building, she said.
Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said three sides of the building were on fire, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times that most of the nine people who were killed were found on the second floor of the building. She told The Post that the warehouse used to have one floor, but a makeshift ladder and another floor had been added.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. “There’s still a large portion of the building that we’re going to have to search,” Deloach-Reed said.
Deloach-Reed said this is the worst fire the city has seen since the Oakland hills firestorm that killed 25 people in 1991. That fire, which rapidly spread through the Oakland hills, wiped out nearly 3,500 homes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.