Nine confirmed dead but officials fear death count may rise to 40
Last night saw tragedy strike a live show in California by electronic artist Golden Donna (AKA Joel Shanahan). Upwards of 50 people had gathered to hear him play at a warehouse on 31st Avenue in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, when a fire broke out that is so far known to have claimed at least nine lives.
The event was hosted by local promoters 100% Silk. The building usually houses artists' studios, and it is not year clear how the fire started, nor what safety measures were in place, although the BBC quotes Oakland fire chief Teresa Deloach-Reed as saying that the only exit from the top floor was via a staircase made of wooden pallets, and that no smoke alarms were sounding when firefighters arrived.
The fire is believed to have started around 11.30pm local time (7.30am Saturday UK time). Although only nine fatalities have been confirmed so far, specialist rescue teams have now been sent into the building and officials say the death toll may rise considerably, with at least 25 people known to have been in attendance but still so far unaccounted for.
Anyone whose friends or relatives were planning to attend this event should keep an eye on the event's Facebook page, which is now acting as an information hub. Note that the page managers ask anyone else to please NOT post messages of sympathy right now, so that vital information does not get lost.
Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those who lost their lives, and we pray for the safe return of those still missing.