A fire at a rave in a warehouse in Oakland, California has claimed nine lives with authorities fearing the death toll could be higher.
The blaze broke out at the Ghost Ship, a converted warehouse in the city, at 23:30 local time on Friday (December 2), according to police.
Between 50 and 100 people were thought to have been inside the venue where Golden Donna and six other artists were due to perform. It is feared as many as 40 people could have died in the fire, with many concert-goers missing, as BBC News reports.
Oakland fire chief Teresa Deloche-Reed told reporters the building did not have a sprinkler system and no alarms were heard by firefighters upon their arrival.
She also said the complex was packed with furniture, mannequins and other objects that obstructed the fire crew’s efforts in stopping the fire. “It was filled end to end with furniture, whatnot, collections. It was like a maze almost,” she said.
Deloche-Reed also said the only exit from the venue’s second floor was a staircase made from wooden pallets.
Darin Ranelletti, a building and planning chief in Oakland, said the city had received complaints about unpermitted construction on the site of the Ghost Ship. He added that the city was aware of reports that people were living there, despite no permits for habitation being issued.
A donation fund to help those affected has been started and has raised over $100,ooo (£78,573) at the time of writing. You can find more information and donate to the fund here.
Musicians have begun paying their respects to those affected on Twitter. Clipping tweeted: “This is our scene. These are our friends. This is a terrible tragedy. Please help if you can.” DIIV added: “i don’t pray ever but sending so many prayers to oakland right now.”
i don't pray ever but sending so many prayers to oakland right now.
— DIIV (@DIIV) December 3, 2016
This is our scene. These are our friends. This is a terrible tragedy. Please help if you can https://t.co/hqEAlnmRnn
— 𝖈𝖑𝖎𝖕𝖕𝖎𝖓𝖌. (@clppng) December 3, 2016
🙏🏽ing for everyone who was at the rave in Oakland last night.
— KREAY VAN HALEN (@KREAYSHAWN) December 3, 2016
— Ben UFO (@BenUFO) December 4, 2016