The death toll from last week’s fire at a converted warehouse in Oakland, California is at 36 but may go higher, as crews continue to search through the debris for more victims.
The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined. Authorities say the high number of fatalities is due to the difficulty people inside the building had in getting out quickly. According to news sources, the warehouse was being used as an artists’ colony and a number of internal structures were built without permits, leading to what is being described as a maze-like interior crowded with wooden objects. A single wooden staircase was the only access between the two floors.