17-Year-Old Student, a Teacher and Musicians Among Oakland Fire Victims as Death Toll Reaches 36
The death toll was only expected to go up as authorities searched for the missing.
Authorities on Sunday put the death toll from Oakland's devastating warehouse fire at 36.
Among those ruled dead by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau was a 17-year-old student who had attended the late-night dance party Friday.
Sunday's death count came as workers had yet to dig through over half the charred remains of the so-called "Ghost Ship," a warehouse converted into artist studios and reportedly some illegal living spaces.
The coroner released the names of positively identified bodies Sunday night, but withheld the name of the 17-year-old because he or she was a minor.
However, the San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts has identified the teen as their student Draven McGill, according to SFGate.
Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said an area police deputy's son was among the dead, but he did not release the victim's name.
Among the identified victims was Cash Askew, a 22-year-old musician and member of the band Them Are Us Too.
David Cline, a 24-year-old UC Berkely alumnus, was also killed
"We just received word that my brother David Cline passed away in the Oakland Fire," Cline's brother, Neil, wrote on in a Facebook post. "To all of you, thank you. Thank you for your kindness, help and love. To David, we love you. You will be with us always."
Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado, is also among the music makers who perished. The man dubbed a musical "genius" by friends spent days working at a Berkeley-based publisher.
Another victim, Sara Hoda of Walnut Creek, worked as a teacher at a Montessori school. She and her friend Carol Crewdson had worked to create a collective for traveling artists making their way through Northern California.
"She was a really sweet person,” Crewdson told the LA Times. “She gardened and taught children how to garden."
Travis Hough, 35, of Oakland, was an arts therapist at a Bay Area school. Also a musician, Hough was a member of the band Ghosts of Lightning.
Donna Kellogg was also a musician. The 32-year-old called Oakland home. In a Facebook thread about the tragedy, friend Stefanie Kalem called Kellogg "an incredible spirit and soul and I will miss her terribly."
Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, from Hayward, California, was an electronic music artist and member of the group Symbiotix.Fungi. In the band, he went by his stage name, Nex Iuguolo.
As of Monday, authorities had searched less than half the partially collapsed structure for bodies. The death toll is expected to rise as the slow process of recovery continues.
Authorities are asking families with missing loved ones to preserve DNA samples as a way of confirming the identities of those who died.
“We will be here for days and days to come,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Compounding the confusion is the fact that not all the victims are likely locals, and some from Europe and Asia.
"A lot of these people are young people,” Sgt. Kelly said. “They are from all parts of our community.”
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