A man from Santa Monica was confirmed dead and a woman from Lakewood was listed as missing in the massive Oakland warehouse fire that has claimed at least 33 lives.
David Cline — a UC Berkeley graduate from Santa Monica said by the website heavy.com to be 24 years old — died in Friday night’s blaze, said his brother, Neil Cline.
“We just received word that my brother, David Cline, passed away in the Oakland Fire,” Neil Cline wrote Sunday on his Facebook page. “To all of you, thank you. Thank you for your kindness, help and love. To David, we love you. You will be with us always.
A second Southland native, UC Berkeley student Vanessa Plotkin of Lakewood, has been reported missing, according to media reports.
Friends and family of the 21-year-old Plotkin have been posting on Facebook desperate pleas for help in locating Plotkin. She has not been heard from since about 11 p.m. Friday, when she sent out a text saying she planned to go to a party in Oakland, the Long Beach Press-Telegram said.
Her father, Gary Plotkin, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the family is desperate to locate her.
“We’re beside ourselves,” Plotkin said. “This is just like a nightmare. I can’t believe this.”
The fire inside the warehouse at 1305 W. 31st St. broke out Friday night while most of the partygoers were on the second floor of the building listening to a concert, media reports said.
The only way out of the building was through the first floor and the fire trapped many of the victims who couldn’t make it through the downstairs labyrinth of artist work spaces and flames, authorities said..
The building — known as the Oakland Ghost Ship — reportedly was an enclave where artists came to live and work together, according to a variety of sources. Photos of the interior before the fire are available at www.oaklandghostship.com.
The Alameda County District Attorney’s office has begun a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Sunday.
“I want to confirm that we have activated the criminal investigation team,” Schaaf told a gathering of reporters. “That means that we are engaging in protocol that allows a criminal investigation to be conducted.”
The victims of the fire ranged in age from 17 to their 30s, authorities said
The fire is the deadliest in Oakland history, and the seventh deadliest U.S. building fire in the past 50 years, according to NBC News.
–City News Service