Over the weekend, tragedy struck the independent music community when Oakland warehouse space Ghost Ship was hosting an electronic music night and caught fire. As predicted by the press, the fire has proven to be extremely deadly. As of Monday morning (December 5), 36 people have lost their lives.
So far, only eight of the 36 people have been identified. Their ages range from 17 to 35.
Among the dead is Cash Askew of the dream-pop band Them Are Us Too. The group had released their debut album Remain via Dais Records in 2016.
Dais released a statement in Askew's memory [via Pitchfork]. "Cash Askew was an absolutely loved and treasured member of the Dais Records family," they said. "We were in awe of her talent, her gentle kindness, and her creative momentum.... Her passing is an excruciating loss that we may never fully process or recover from."
Musician Joey Casio was also reported among the dead, though those reports were retracted. As of now, he remains missing. That said, authorities have only been able to search 30 percent of the building. The death toll is expected to increase as the search continues.
Oakland battalion Fire Chief Melinda Drayton told CNN that debris is being removed "literally bucket by bucket in a methodical, thoughtful, mindful and compassionate way," Oakland battalion Fire Chief Melinda Drayton said. A criminal investigation team is on the premises to gather evidence in case of a potential criminal case.
As of press time, crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $250,000 USD for the victims' families. If you feel so inclined, you can donate here.
UPDATE (12/05, 5 p.m.): President Barack Obama has issued a statement about the Oakland fire. You can read it below.
Today our prayers go out to the people of Oakland, California in the aftermath of this weekend's deadly warehouse fire – one of the worst fires in the state's history. While we still don't know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people – including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them – have tragically lost their lives. I want to thank the dedicated first responders who have been working tirelessly for days to contain the situation, recover victims, and treat the wounded. My Administration is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure that authorities have everything they need as they continue response operations and investigate the cause of the fire. Oakland is one of the most diverse and creative cities in our country, and as families and residents pull together in the wake of this awful tragedy, they will have the unwavering support of the American people.