The Latest: "There's a part of our heart that's missing"

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2016 6:50 PM
The Latest: "There's a part of our heart that's missing"

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on an Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people(all times local):

3:28 p.m.

Family members and friends have paid tribute to five colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley who died in last week's fire in a converted Oakland warehouse.

The relatives and loved ones hugged and wept as they spoke Thursday at a campus memorial for two students, two recent graduates and a campus volunteer who died in Friday's blaze.

Michael Morris, father of 21-year-old victim Jennifer Morris, told the university gathering that a part of his heart was now missing. Jennifer Morris was a musician and media studies major. She died in the fire at the illegally converted Oakland warehouse along with her roommate, 21-year-old Vanessa Plotkin.

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1:25 p.m.

Authorities have identified all 36 revelers burned to death Friday night in a fire during a party at an Oakland warehouse.

Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly said the local coroner on Thursday identified and contacted the family of the one victims authorities had difficulty identifying. Kelly didn't immediately release the victim's name.

Investigators concluded their search for bodies Wednesday and turned their attention to finding the cause of the fire, which started on the first floor and quickly engulfed the cramped structure.

Authorities say most of the victims were trapped on the second floor when smoke and fire raced up the two staircases inside the warehouse.

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1:15 p.m.

The illegally occupied Oakland warehouse where 36 partygoers burned to death was not in the database city fire inspectors use to schedule inspections of commercial buildings.

A firefighter with knowledge of the database disclosed the information to The Associated Press on Thursday and said there's no record the building known as the Ghost Ship ever was inspected.

Typically, fire inspectors pull addresses from the database to schedule inspections for fire hazards.

The firefighter feared retribution for disclosing the information and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A 2014 report by an Alameda County grand jury said 4,000 of 11,000 commercial buildings in Oakland were not receiving the required yearly inspections.

Fire spokeswoman Rebecca Kozak said authorities were still trying determine when — or if — fire officials inspected the warehouse before Friday's fire.

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Ellen Knickmeyer in San Francisco reported this story.

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10:25 a.m.

U.C. Berkeley will honor the 36 people who died in a converted warehouse fire in Oakland last weekend, including five with ties to the campus.

The Berkeley campus community will gather from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday at Zellerbach Hall for the service.

Among the 36 confirmed fatalities are two Berkeley undergraduates, Jenny Morris and Vanessa Plotkin; recently graduated alumni, David Cline and Griffin Madden, who also served on the staff of Cal Performances; and Chelsea Dolan, a volunteer at the campus radio station, KALX.

Cal is offering counseling services at University Health Services for those on campus.

Additionally, the Dean of Students' Office is collecting cards and letters for the families, and will ensure that they get to the proper recipients. The fire started during a dance party Friday.

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9:20 a.m.

Oakland's interim building chief says code enforcement inspectors have not been inside the warehouse where 36 people died in a Friday fire for at least 30 years.

Darin Ranelletti says inspectors only enter buildings when the owner seeks a construction permit or if officials receive a complaint.

At the time of the fire, the department was investigating a complaint and an inspector twice visited the property in November. But records show the inspector reporting an inability to get inside.

Ranelletti says inspectors need to obtain a court order to enter buildings without owners' permission.

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12:05 a.m.

Federal officials investigating a fire that killed 36 people during a party at an Oakland warehouse plan to bring in engineers to examine the building's electrical system, as they try to pinpoint the cause of a blaze that has cast a spotlight on similar artists' colonies around the country that offer cheap housing but unsafe living conditions.

Federal investigators said Wednesday the fire started on the ground floor of the Oakland warehouse and quickly raged, with smoke billowing into the second level and trapping victims whose only escape route was through the flames.

Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said there were no sprinklers or fire alarm system in the building.