Authorities in Oakland have begun releasing the names of the victims of the horrific “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire that left at least 33 people dead Friday night.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau posted seven names on the city websiteSunday night, along with a note saying a 17-year-old minor had also been identified.
The deceased included Cash Askew, 22; David Clines, 35; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25; Sara Hoda, 30; Travis Hough, 35; Donna Kellogg, 32; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32.
The minor, whose name was initially withheld, was later identified by family and friends as Draven McGill — an 11th-grader at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco who loved electronic dance music and was “merely trying to have a little fun and live his life” that night at Ghost Ship, a classmate said.
“We are all in utter disbelief and shock,” Emma Shen wrote on Facebook. “I know for a fact that Draven was an immensely talented member of the SOTA vocal department who had so much of his life to live for and enough time to live it.”
McGill is so far the youngest of those confirmed dead. His close friend Kai Thomas, 16, told the Orange County Register that the teen had died from smoke inhalation.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly warned Sunday that the death toll could reach an “astronomical number” by the time authorities were done sifting through the scorched ruins.
“We have no idea how many people were in the building that night,” he said. “We don’t even know how many people got out of the building. We’re expecting the worst and hoping for the best in regard to how many victims we find.”
Alameda County prosecutors launched a criminal probe Sunday into the tragic fire, though details were not provided.
“It is far too early to have suspicions about what caused this fire,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the LA Times.