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Oakland Warehouse Fire Kills 36; Cause Still Unknown

Officials say the building's owner didn't have the necessary permits to host a party for 50-100 people.
Posted at 7:57 AM, Jun 06, 2017

The death toll from Friday's warehouse fire in Oakland, California, has risen to 36, making it one of the deadliest in recent California history.

Officials expect the death toll to rise even more. About 70 percent of the building had been searched as of Monday morning.

The names of seven victims had been released as of Monday morning — one is a 17-year-old whose name will not be released. Eleven victims have been identified in total, and their families have been notified.

Previously, the worst fire in Oakland history was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people.

SEE MORE: Tennessee Officials Say Deadly Wildfires 'Likely To Be Human-Caused'

According to KTVU, officials estimate 50 to 100 people were inside the building — known as the Oakland Ghost Ship — when it caught fire late Friday night. The space was home to over a dozen people who used it as an artists' collective.

Last month, authorities started an investigation into the warehouse after complaints about possible safety issues.

The building apparently had no sprinkler system or clearly marked exit paths. Officials also believe the smoke detectors might not have activated during the fire.

Officials told local media that the building's owner didn't have the permits needed to host the party on Friday, and a request for that permit likely would have been denied over safety concerns.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office assigned criminal investigators to the fire on Sunday. Authorities have narrowed the source of the fire to the back of the building but are "no closer" to determining a cause.

It's been 13 years since the U.S. has seen this many fatalities from a single-structure fire. The last one happened in 2003, when a fire at a Rhode Island nightclub killed 100 people