Oakland fire death toll climbs
The death toll from the fire that raced through an Oakland warehouse during a concert rose to 30 Sunday as searchers continued to sift through the ruins of one of the deadliest fires in modern California history.
The search for victims could take two more days, leaving in limbo friends and family members frantic to learn the fate of their loved ones. Officials said they expect to find more victims as the search continues.
Searchers painstakingly sifted through the rubble of the building through the night. They described it as a horrific scene of destruction, with many concertgoers unable to flee when the fire broke out.
Authorities said three of the victims have been identified. Their families have been notified.
The rising death toll makes the Oakland fire the worst in recent California history. It eclipsed the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people.
The fire's cause is not known.
City records cited allegations of at least three code violations at the building this year. In one complaint, city inspectors said there was complaint of an illegal building on the property and piles of trash.
"This property is a storage (facility), but the owner turned it into a trash recycling center. The yard became a trash collection site, and the main building was (remodeled) for residential," according to city records.
City building and safety officials said Saturday that there was an open investigation into the warehouse and that inspectors had found evidence of blight. The building was permitted for use as a warehouse, not for housing.
They said that a party or concert at the property would have required a permit, which had not been granted. They also said there was no evidence that the building had fire sprinklers or alarms.
The property is one of several owned by Chor N. Ng, according to her daughter, Eva Ng, 36. She said the warehouse was leased as studio space for an art collective and not used as a dwelling.