There’s still no clear chain of responsibility in regards to one of the deadliest fires in Oakland, Ca. As of now, the death toll has reached 36 after a fire broke out at a warehouse this past Friday.
CNN reports that investigators have cleared 70 percent of the wreckage and have determined the fire started in the back of the building.
“By the time I was through the front doors, I could just see the flames coming and then they just engulfed the front archway of my studio,” said Jose Avalos. “I looked back and I just saw smoke everywhere. I couldn’t really see anything. Got out of the building and I just saw smoke and then flames coming out the doors and the windows.”
Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton called the tragedy one of the deadliest fires in the area’s history, including a 1991 Oakland Hills fire with 25 deaths.
The leaseholder for the warehouse, Derick Ion Almena, has been brought up multiple times by the media as a possible source of responsibility, if there even is one. Almena reportedly wasn’t on the premises and has made multiple efforts to apologize to the victim’s families.
“I’m only here to say one thing: I’m incredibly sorry and that everything that I did was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together,” Almena said on Today while being interviewed by Matt Lauer. “People didn’t walk through those doors because it was a horrible place. People didn’t seek us out to perform and express themselves because it was a horrible place.”
A full investigation of the wreckage could take weeks and more information will be sure to follow.
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