A refrigerator may have been the point of origin of the Oakland warehouse fire that has been confirmed to have killed at least 36 people including one UC Berkeley student, KTVU reported Tuesday.
The autopsies already completed show that the victims died of smoke inhalation. UC Berkeley student Jenny Morris; campus alumnus David Cline; Chelsea Dolan, a DJ for campus radio station KALX who went by the moniker Cherushii; Em Bohlka and Donna Kellogg, who worked together at Berkeley’s Highwire Coffee Roasters and Nick Gomez-Hall, who worked at Counterpoint Press in West Berkeley have all been identified as victims of the fire. SFGate also reported that Jonathan Bernbaum, a Berkeley High School alumnus, died in the fire.
Vanessa Plotkin, Morris’ roommate, and campus alumnus Griffin Madden are reportedly missing.
Darin White, deputy chief of Oakland Fire Department’s Field Operations Bureau, said in a press conference Tuesday that officials have searched about 90 percent of the building and that debris removal should be completed by Wednesday at midnight.
“I have no way of ascertaining that there are no additional victims,” said OFD Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann. “There’s 10 percent of the property (left to search). Hopefully, that’s the 10 percent where there are no victims but I don’t have a crystal ball that’s any better than yours.”
According to Hoffmann, OFD and other agencies are still working to address stability issues in the building and will be knocking down structurally unsound parapet walls. Earlier Tuesday OFD Battalion Chief Robert Lipp announced that the parapet wall that was presenting the greatest danger had been removed and some of the flooring has been stabilized.
Hoffmann added that the area where they are taking down the parapets is not thought to be related to the origin of the fire.