Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (C) addresses a news conference near the site of a fire in Oakland, east of San Francisco, the United States, on Dec. 3, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf pledged on Saturday full investigations into an overnight fire which killed at least 9 people while another 25 were still unaccounted for in Oakland, east of San Francisco.

The mayor said at a press conference after the fire that the building was only permitted as a warehouse.

The police will be active at the scene for the next 48 hours, while the unstable structure made the searching process very slow, said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly.

The blaze, one of the deadliest structure fires in Oakland’s history, began at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday during an electronic music party in a two-story warehouse in the San Francisco Bay Area city.

While citing the number of casualties as the result of “a preliminary search,” Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed initially told KTVU, a local affiliate of Fox News network, that 13 people were unaccounted for.

“There’s still a lot of the building that needs to be searched,” she said.

Most of the nine dead were found on the second floor of the building, known as “The Oakland Ghost Ship,” in an industrial neighborhood.

The party was reportedly scheduled from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., and dozens of people were inside at the time of the fire. The roof collapsed as people fled the second floor by a “makeshift stairwell” leading to the first floor.

Deloach-Reed noted that there was no sprinkler system in the structure.

Oakland Fire Department posted several messages throughout the night on its Twitter social media network account, including the latest one in the morning saying that fire crews would remain on the scene for several more hours to extinguish hot spots.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh


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