A fire that erupted inside a converted warehouse in Oakland, Calif. late last week has claimed the lives of at least 36 people, including a 17-year-old boy.
The massive blaze, which is under investigation, broke out during a dance party Friday shortly before midnight. Authorities have identified eight victims so far and expect the death toll to rise.
At least 4,500 people have donated more than $230,000 to an official fire relief fund set up to help survivors and victims’ families.
Here’s what we know so far about some of the victims.
Sara Hoda taught elementary school students at the Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland, according to her friends. The 30-year-old from Walnut Creek, Calif. was remembered on Facebook as a hard worker who loved children. “Sara was a principled person, she was compassionate, decent and honorable,” her former roommate Carol Crewdson said Sunday in a Facebook post. “She didn’t deserve to go like that.” Another friend, Nicole Calasich, wrote on Instagram that Hoda was known for being patient and generous. “She was easily a better human than most people I know,” she wrote.
Travis Hough was a 35-year-old musician from Oakland who was scheduled to perform at the warehouse party on the night of the fire. He was also midway though planning his wedding and was looking forward to becoming an uncle, his cousin Donna Warren told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “He was just such a…compassionate person,” Warren said. “He was always helping people. He was just that type of person.” Hough followed in his musician father’s footsteps, according to his cousin.
Seventeen-year-old Draven McGill was one of the youngest of the warehouse fire victims and the son of a deputy for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Authorities did not release his name, but officials at his San Francisco school identified him as one of the deceased. Friends said Draven was a member of the vocal department at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. One of his former teachers, Rachel Cohn, mourned the loss of the teenager on Facebook. “None of it seems real tonight, but I am remembering clearer than ever his laugh, and his intense eyes in class—always tuned in, seeking, curious, craving more,” she wrote.
David Cline, 24, was passionate about playing the clarinet and was a talented volleyball player, his friends said. The Oakland resident had studied clarinet for 10 years, said his former teacher, Amanda Jane Walker. Cline valued camaraderie, compassion, and trust, Walker said. Cline last year graduated from UC Berkeley with bachelor’s degrees in cognitive science and computer science, according to the Daily Californian.
Donna Kellogg, 32, was remembered by her former boyfriend and loved ones on social media as “giggly” and “fiery.” The Oakland woman was a “super awesome, fiery, intelligent, redhead who wanted to be a healer,” her ex-boyfriend Josh Howes told the Orange County Register. Kellogg was studying nutrition. She moved from Chicago and had been working at Highwire Coffee Roasters in Berkeley, the Chronicle reports.
Cash Askew, 22, of Oakland, was a member of a Bay Area band called Them Are Us Too, Billboard reports. The Dais Records label mourned the loss of their musician in a statement on Instagram. “We will never be the same. Completely devastated by the loss of Cash Askew. She was one of the most talented and loving people we’ve ever known,” the statement said.
Brandon Chase Wittenauer
Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, was an electronic music artist who was known as Nex Iuguolo. “My heart is so heavy right now for my family and for the ones closest to Nex Iuguolo and for the other victims of the warehouse fire as well as their families,” his cousin Ariel Treya Gonzalez wrote on Facebook.
Nick Gomez-Hall was a guitarist who loved collecting records and traveling the world, according to his Facebook page. The 25-year-old lived in Coronado, Calif., officials said. He was a graduate of Coronado High School who worked at Berkeley-based publisher Counterpoint Press, the Los Angeles Times reports.