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Criminal investigation launched as GhostShip death toll rises to 36

on December 04, 2016, 9:10pm

As the death toll rises to a staggering 33 people, a criminal investigation team has arrived on the scene of the Oakland warehouse fire, according to CNN. Update – December 5th at 8:15 a.m. CT: The death toll has risen to 36 as of Monday morning. Update – December 7th at 11:00 a.m. CT: The search has concluded, according to NBC News. The death toll stands at 36.

At a press conference held Sunday, Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly said 30% of the building has been searched thus far. He expects the death toll to rise as the search continues.

City prosecutors have sent a representative to the scene to make sure any evidence for a potential criminal probe is preserved during the recovery process, Oakland mayor Libby Schaap announced.

The fire broke out Friday night at a live-work artist commune known as the GhostShip. At the time of the blaze, the venue was hosting a concert featuring artists from Los Angeles-based record label 100% Silk. Two of these artists, Cherushii (Chelsea Faith Dolan) and Nackt (Johnny Igaz), remain unaccounted for, according to the label’s co-owner, Amanda Brown. Update – 8:55 p.m. CT: Two other musicians, Cash Askew of the band Them Are Us Too, and Joey Casio were killed in the fire, Pitchfork confirmsUpdate – 11:00 p.m. CT: Pitchfork has retracted its report that Casio was a victim of the fire. He remains missing.

The GhostShip lacked proper permits and was under investigation for its cramped conditions, electrical wiring issues, and unlicensed interior building structures. The venue also lacked sprinklers and working smoke detectors. There’s also no record of any permits were obtained allowing GhostShip to legally host entertainment events.