UPDATE 3: Joseph Matlock, who performed under the name Joey Casio, has been confirmed as one of the 36 people who died in the Oakland warehouse fire, SFGate reports. Matlock was 36. The artist/producer recorded singles for K Records in Olympia, WA, where Matlock once lived. Though he wasn’t widely known, label founder Calvin Johnson told SFGate he was a punk and electronica legend in Oakland as well as in Olympia. “He’s a real institution around here,” Johnson said.
UPDATE 2: 100% Silk artists Cherushii (real name: Chelsea Faith Dolan) and Nackt (real name: Johnny Igaz) have been confirmed as two of the 36 people who died in the Oakland warehouse fire.
UPDATE: Authorities confirmed Sunday that they have found the bodies of at least 36 people in the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire, adding that the majority of the building still hasn’t been searched.
At least nine people were killed and over a dozen unaccounted for after a fire broke out at a party in an Oakland, California warehouse late Friday night.
According to a Facebook event page, the warehouse on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Boulevard in the city’s Fruitvale neighborhood was hosting musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk tour.
“What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. Britt and I are beside ourselves, utterly devastated. We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families,” the label 100% Silk said in a statement. “Thank you for everyone who’s been reaching out, we are hoping so hard for the best. We will be posting here on how you can help, and any information as it comes to us.”
Authorities say at least 50 people were in the building at the time of the three-alarm blaze. According to fire officials, the party was taking place on the second floor of the warehouse, with the only access a “makeshift staircase” made of wooden palettes. “There wasn’t a clear entry or exit path up on the second floor. … If (the fire) had started in that area (by the stairwell), then everyone on the second floor” would have had trouble escaping, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said Saturday morning. “It must have been a very fast-moving fire.”
“We still have to do a more thorough search of the building and we don’t know the potential number of other victims,” Deloach-Reed told the East Bay Times. “This is a true loss for the city, for the firefighters who responded, and the people who lost family and friend. It’s just tragic, a real tragedy.”
— Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) December 3, 2016
Firefighters first received a call about the fire at 11:30 p.m. Friday night. Within an hour, the blaze had torn through the roof. Authorities added that the fire didn’t activate the building’s smoke detectors, and that there was no sprinkler system in place at the warehouse, which served as a live/work and studio space for local artists.
Deloche-Reed added, “We’ve done a preliminary search we are up to nine known fatalities. There’s still a still a lot of the building that needs to be searched.” Over 55 firefighters were needed to extinguish the fire, the second major blaze in Oakland in as many months.
Golden Donna’s Facebook page describes the project as “the electronic outlet of Madison, Wisconsin’s Joel Shanahan”; Shanahan later revealed that he escaped the fire. Other artists scheduled to perform at the Oakland party included Cherushii, Nackt and Russell Butler.
“Last night’s fire was an immense tragedy,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said of the tragedy, the largest in the East Bay since the 1989 earthquakes. “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.”
The event’s Facebook page is now an active thread where friends and family can check on the status or whereabouts of those still missing. Police are also asking anyone looking for missing persons associated with this fire to contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau.