The New York Times reports that the blaze that broke out in a live-work warehouse space occupied by an arts collective in Oakland has taken at least 30 lives. More casualties are expected. There were 40-50 people in the building when fire erupted around 11:00 p.m. on Friday.
As of Sunday afternoon, fire officials had only made it through about 20-percent of the building that was described as a labyrinth of wires, beams and woods with pianos, campers, artwork, make-shift living spaces and furniture. The building's second floor collapsed and an ad hoc staircase made of wooden pallets also created access challenges. Authorities anticipate that the search may take up to 48 hours and involve excavators, bulldozers and cadaver dogs.
Oakland Fire Chief, NFPA Board of Director Member and NFPA Emergency Responder Advisory Committee (ERAC) Member Teresa Deloach Reed told the East BayTimes that the building had no sprinklers and crews did not hear any smoke detectors going off when they arrived.
The Oakland blaze is one of the deadliest structure fires in the United States in the last ten years. Read NFPA's most recent report on catastrophic multiple fire death fires here.