Victims Identified in Oakland Warehouse Fire That Killed 36 – PEOPLE.com

Authorities in Oakland have begun releasing the names of the victims of the warehouse fire that claimed the lives of at least 36 people on Friday night.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau posted seven names on the city website Sunday night. On Tuesday, Oakland city officials identified 10 more victims.

The deceased include Cash Askew, 22; David Cline, 24; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25; Sara Hoda, 30; Travis Hough, 35; Donna Kellogg, 32; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32; Em Bohlka, 33; Micah Danemayer, 28; Chelsea Dolan, 33; Alex Ghassan, 35; Michela Gregory, 20; Edmond Lapine, 34; Jennifer Morris, 21; Feral Pines, 29; Benjamin Runnels, 32; and Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31.

The name of another victim who has been identified, a 17-year-old minor, has not been officially released, the city said.

Learn more about the victims below.

Cash Askew, 22




Kristin Cofer

Askew was part of a Bay Area-based band called Them Are Us Too.

“Completely heartbroken to lose such an incredible soul. We love you Cash,” her record label wrote on Twitter with a black and white photo of the musician.

“Cash Askew was an absolutely loved and treasured member of the Dais Records family,” the label and band’s management team said in a press release. “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.”

David Cline, 24



Cline Family

Neil Cline shared a Facebook update hours before the city published the press release identifying the victims saying that his brother was one of the victims.

“We just received word that my brother David Cline passed away in the Oakland Fire,” he wrote. “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.”

He later added in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, “David was an incredible man, an amazing brother, a perfect son and an inspiring friend to everyone who was fortunate enough to have him in their lives.”

Wrote Neil, “Everyone who ever met David knows that his smile and his presence changed every person that was lucky enough to feel his warmth and light.”

Cline graduated from University of California – Berkeley last year with bachelor’s degrees in cognitive science and computer science, Neil said.

Donna Kellogg, 32

Ginger Kellogg Jimenez confirmed the death of her sister on Facebook, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“This is my sister, and we were notified this morning that her body was found. Prayers for the family will be greatly appreciated,” Kellogg Jimenez wrote in a comment late Sunday morning on the Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour event page, which has turned into a forum for those affected by the tragedy.

Josh Howes told the Orange County Register that he formerly dated the victim for four or five years and described her as “super awesome, fiery, intelligent, red head who wanted to be a healer.”

Nick Gomez-Hall, 25

Gomez-Hall was a musician just a couple weeks shy of his 26th birthday.

“It’s just sudden, you know,” Asante Sefa-Boakye, a classmate of Gomez at Coronado High School, told Fox 5 San Diego. “I feel like everyone right now is in a place of shock, one being someone so close to the immediate contact that we have and then two just researching the circumstances… the fire happening and just the timing of it all over the holidays it’s really rough.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Gomez-Hall worked at Counterpoint Press, a publisher based in Berkeley.

“Whether he was recommending new music to listen to (and it was always so good), regaling us with tales of the bowling alley, offering his beloved truck for a ride if anyone needed it, or sharing his much appreciated opinions about a book jacket or manuscript, he made everyone feel like they were his friend. He was kind, considerate, hilarious… In short he was an essential part of our team,” a statement from Counterpoint Press says on Twitter.

“We send all of our love to Nick’s family and friends and hold our treasured memories of him deep in our hearts… Rest in peace, dear Nick.”

Sara Hoda, 30

Carol Crewdson, a friend and former housemate of the victim, shared on Facebook that Hoda was identified by her fingerprints.

“Sara was a principled person, she was compassionate, decent, and honorable,” Crewdson wrote. “She didn’t do drugs and she wasn’t a drinker. She was a teacher and a gardener, working at a Montessori school. She was a good hard working person, she loved children and the earth, and she put those principles into actions. She didn’t deserve to go like that.”

Hoda, described as “loved and full of love” worked at Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland.

“She will be missed by so many people,” the school said in a statement released on Monday.

Travis Hough, 35

Hough was a member of the band Ghosts of Lightning, manager Brendan Dreaper told the Los Angeles Times. He also worked as a creative arts therapist at a local school.

“He was a super fun person to be around. I never had a bad day being around him,” Dreaper said. “Travis had his heart open to everything and I’m at a loss for what to say.”

“He just was like a bright light for everyone that he ever met,” he added.

Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32



Source: Brandon Chase Wittenauer/Instagram

Wittenauer, who also went by the stage name Nex Iuguolo, was remembered by friends on Twitter.

“They don’t make them like this anymore,” one person captioned a collage of photos.

According to what appears to be his Facebook profile, he was a Project Director for the band Symbiotix.Fungi.

He was a sweet and sensitive artist and embodied love and positivity. He saw art in everything around him. He loved other people and people adored him,” friend Amanda Fish tells PEOPLE. 

We’ve known each other for 15 years and while other friends have come and gone, Chase was the most deep, loyal, understanding, dependable person that I wanted in my life forever. He did not have a mean bone in his body. He was incredibly positive! His heart was warm and kind. He was very handsome, had an adorable smile, and warm energy. You felt wonderful and lucky to know someone that cool!”

Fish says Wittenauer loved his family, including sister Danica, who lives in the Bay Area.

Em Bohlka, 33

Bohlka worked as a barista and wrote poetry in her free time. Proud father, Jack Bohlka, says his daughter transitioned earlier this year.

“She was just a completely loving individual, truly a gentle spirit, thoughtful and philosophical,” the dad told the Los Angeles Times.

The close-knit father-daughter duo bonded over their love for “Slaughterhouse-Five,” often texting quotes from the book to each other, according to the publication. Their favorite? “Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

Micah Danemayer, 28

Danemayer, an electronic musician who performed under the name Paralycyst, was at the warehouse party putting on a light show for guests when he died.

“I’ve never met anybody so passionate, not only for his own art and music but for everyone else’s,” bandmate Devyn Fordyce told the San Fransisco Chronicle.

His memorial page called We Love You Micah da Mutant reads: “Our beautiful mutant comrade, passed back to his original galaxy of hardware and silver glitter.”

Chelsea Dolan, 33

Dolan’s mother, Colleen Dolan, describes Chelsea as “an extraordinary person, full of exuberant joy.” The 33-year-old was an electronic musician from San Fransisco, California, with a passion for music history and composition.

“Her personality, intelligence, clothes, music, and kindness were legendary,” her mother writes on Facebook. “She discovered at the age of 3 that she could pick up any musical instrument and play a tune she had heard, or the well-composed song she’d just written in her head.”

“She turned to electronic music when she realized it allowed her to play the complex and haunting melodies she heard in her head. What she wanted to produce was more orchestral than one instrument could provide. Composition was her speciality.”

Known as DJ Cherushii, Dolan had a radio program at a University of California radio station and recently released her second record in November 2015. She was about to release a new CD, according to her mom’s post on social media.

Alex Ghassan, 35

The rare from me but necessary #selfie in the social media world.

A photo posted by AlexG_Director (@alexg_director) on Nov 12, 2016 at 4:08am PST

A talented filmmaker and father of young twin girls, Ghassan was an “artist at heart, a wonderful dad, a wonderful son, a wonderful friend,” according to his mother, Emilie Grandchamps.

“My son is absolutely phenomenal,” Grandchamps told NBC New York.

Ghassan’s fiancée, Hannah, is still missing.

A friend of the couple who was able to make it out says he tried to save them, but unfortunately the building collapsed before he could reach them.

“By the time he winded up getting out, the ceiling had caved in, and Alex and Hannah were still in the building,” Ghassan’s aunt, Junie Moscova told NBC New York.

Ghassan’s loving sister, Richardine Bartee, took to social media to express a tribute.

“Alex, I miss you and I love you, and I always will. I will do my best to continue to help the people that need help, just like you have. You were a great man with a great soul. I hope to be as half as great as you,” she writes.

Michela Gregory, 20

Gregory was a 20-year-old San Francisco State student studying childhood development. She was at the show with boyfriend, Alex Vega, who is still reportedly missing. Gregory’s body and backpack with ID were found in the building, according to a Facbeook post her mother, Kimberly Gregory, wrote.

“I”m thinking, hoping (that) she didn’t burn,” her mother said, according to the San Fransisco Chronicle.

Gregory, a San Bruno native, played on the Millbrae Girls Softball team and attended high school in South San Francisco, according to the publication. She went on to study communicative disorders in the School of Education at San Francisco State.

“She was very attentive and very quiet but very present,” education lecturer Rama Ali Kased toldthe San Fransisco Chronicle. “She was a leader who didn’t take up a lot of space but led in a thoughtful way. Her passion was to work with children. The whole community is shaken up by this.”

Edmond Lapine, 34

According to NBC News, Lapine shared that he was heading to the Ghost Ship on Facebook Friday, and his mother desperately waited for any sign of him after the fire.

After he was confirmed to have died that night by authorities, friends flocked to social media to share their memories. Amanda Stauffer said she had every class with Lapine during their first year at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and his charisma delighted everyone he met.

“In Paris, he came to a dinner party at my host mother’s apartment and charmed even the most blasé of the French,” she wrote. “Back in Oly, I told him I wanted to learn to play guitar and he drove me to a guitar store to help me pick out a starter acoustic. He gave me lessons, and his patience and enthusiasm for the whole project can only be described as saintly in the face of my unwavering lack of discipline.”

Jennifer Morris, 21

Morris was a student at University of California – Berkeley, according to ABC 6.

One of her classmates wrote that although their interactions were limited to their school time, their discussions will be “cherished.”

“I still remember the day I was in tears with a box of tissues, and you came in and said you liked what I said in my article and automatically made me feel better,” Catherine Straus wrote.

Morris’ roommate, Vanessa Plotkin, is still missing after the fire, according to the Daily Californian.

Feral Pines, 29

Pines, a transgender woman, had recently moved to Oakland from Indiana to seek a community that was “more artistic, more friendly to her interests,” her father, Bruce Fritz, told Out. 

Her step-brother, Ben Fritz, told SF Gate that when he saw her at Thanksgiving, she was “the happiest I had seen her in while.”

Pines did odd jobs to make money and had plans to start a new band, as music was a longtime passion of hers.

“She was a gentle soul, the kind of person who never had a bad word to say about anyone,” her father said. “She was someone you wanted to put your arms around and not let go.”

Benjamin Runnels, 32

Runnels, who also went by the name Charlie Prowler, was a talented musician who settled in Oakland five years ago after being attracted by its emerging music scene, family members told SF Gate. 

“He was one of those people who could pick up any instrument,” said his sister, Erin Runnels. “It would be really rare that a song, whether it was Glenn Miller or the Grateful Dead or some obscure European house music, would come on without him being able to tell you something about it.”

When the Upstate New York native wasn’t working in landscaping, he was involved in music projects, including his synthpop band Introflirt. He reportedly attended Friday’s show at the warehouse with his bandmate, Nicole “Denalda” Renae, and other friends.

“He was the brightest shining star and we carry him in our hearts,” his mother, Lorrie Benjamin Runnels, wrote on Facebook.

Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31

Tanouye was a manager at Shazam, a music-identification app, by day and a nail artist by night, according to SF Gate. She reportedly set up her Underground Nail Bar within the warehouse when the tragedy occurred.

Ronnie Casey, a close friend of Tanoute’s, described her as a “vibrant, fashionable and beautiful” woman to Mercury News.

“She was a light,” he said. “To know her was to love her.”




Elijah Nouvelage/Getty

The fire struck close to home as the Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a deputy’s son had died in the fire.

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that they have launched a criminal investigation into the fire. They also revealed that they were finding victims in every section of the warehouse, including “where we least expect them.”

The victims include children, the authorities announced at the press conference on Sunday, revealing that they found victims aged 17 and younger. Many of the victims are thought to be artists, musicians and members of the thriving local music scene in Oakland. However, the list of victims is not limited to Oakland residents as authorities announced Sunday that some of the deceased include people from Europe and Asia.

The tragic fire has been deemed one of the deadliest structure fires in the country within the past decade. Approximately 100 people were in attendance for the event, which featured a performance from Madison, Wisconsin-based electronic act Golden Donna. According to a Facebook page for the event, which was called a rave, attendees could get their hair and nails done at a “secret East Oakland location,” which was announced the day of the show.

The fire was initially reported at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, according to KTVU. Authorities told KTVU the warehouse at 1305 31st St., which was known as the Ghost Ship, included living quarters for artists and their studios.

Kelly told reporters that authorities intended to remain at the scene “for days and days to come,” according to The New York Times.

“We know that there are bodies in there that we cannot get to, that have been seen but have not been recovered,” Kelly said, adding that they were “expecting the worst, maybe a couple dozen victims.”

In a statement Monday, President Barack Obama said: “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.”

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