This tragic story is still on our minds after breaking yesterday, and we are absolutely heartbroken for all the victims and their loved ones.
As you remember, a fire ripped through an EDM performance at a warehouse-type structure in Oakland on Friday night, killing at least nine people and trapping likely dozens more.
Now, officials have revealed that the event organizers would have needed special permits to hold the rave there — permits they apparently did not have.
To boot, Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf and Planning and Building Director Darin Ranelletti revealed at a press conference late yesterday evening that a complaint had been made recently about "unpermitted construction" taking place in the warehouse just a few weeks ago.
Officials were still investigating that claim as the fire broke out on Friday night.
The fear, of course, is that because the structure is so unique — and perhaps dangerous — it could have trapped far more people inside than what would happen in a typical fire of this type, and officials are already planning for the worst when it comes to search and recovery.
There’s one (major) problem: coroners and Sheriff’s Office officials still can’t get inside the building.
Because of the significant danger posed to firefighters and first responders, it could take up to 48 hours to figure out the full number of casualties in the dangerous structure.
So far, nine bodies have been recovered and sent to the coroner’s office for identification, and in a twist of good news, authorities have been able to safely locate several dozen people who had been previously missing.
But, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ray Kelly, Oakland’s first responders are preparing for the worst:
"We have to move slow and judiciously. We know there are bodies in there that we cannot get to. … We don’t know how many people were inside when this happened."
For now, though, according to Kelly, the focus is on exactly how they can move to get in the building:
"We’re going to have to cut a hole through the building. It’s blocked at the entrance so we have to gain access on the other side. It’s very twisted debris in there. There are wires and beams and wood. It’s all fallen in on itself. We’re thinking about bringing in cadaver dogs and robots to get into all the crevices."
As for the general outlook at the scene, Mayor Schaaf added at the press conference:
"This is a devastating scene. It was painful to tell [family and friends] that it will take a considerable amount of time. Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy."
Such a sad, horrible situation.