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Published On: Wed, Dec 7th, 2016

Oakland warehouse fire death toll rises to 36 as more names are released

Described as the deadliest structure fire in California in more than a century, the death toll of the disaster hit 36 on Monday, but there were indications that rescuers were near the end of removing bodies from the ruins of a converted Oakland warehouse.

Oakland firefighters and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies had to be especially careful as warnings of wreckage collapsing on them had been announced. The responders searched for additional victims and evidence for a criminal investigation into the Friday-night fire.

Sgt. Ray Kelly, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the building took on a lot of water during Friday’s firefight, which added more weight and raised the possibility of an “avalanche” situation of debris.

photo Steve Baker http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens/6569999919/

photo Steve Baker http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebiglens/6569999919/

A total of 33 victims have been either positively or tentatively identified and 23 families notified, according to a city news release.

Sheriff Gregory Ahern said the casualty count may rise, but “at this time we’re not anticipating any more huge numbers.”

Investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives asked firefighters to cordon off a wall at the center-rear of the building at 31st Avenue and International Boulevard.

“We now feel very strongly that we have the section of the building that was the area of origin of where the fire started,” said Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton of the Oakland Fire Department.

“While we still don’t know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people — including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them — have tragically lost their lives,” President Obama said in a statement. “Oakland is one of the most diverse and creative cities in our country, and as families and residents pull together in the wake of this awful tragedy, they will have the unwavering support of the American people.”

Residents of the Ghost Ship artists’ collective said several had lived there since 2014, but authorities are also questioning if the blaze is linked a rave or party at the warehouse.

CNN published a full list of victims with bios and photos, check it out HERE

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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