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tv   NBC Bay Area News at 11  NBC  December 3, 2016 11:00pm-11:30pm PST

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this is our 9/11. this is awful. >> coming to grips with extreme tragedy. a deadly warehouse fire in oakland kills at least nine people. families are hoping for a miracle as dozens are still missing. >> pray for her, okay? >> and the search will continue all night and all weekend long. a live look from the scene right now as rescue crews are now trying to assess the dangerous building to find more potential victims. a scene of utter devastation and tragedy in oakland tonight.
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the city in shock after a party at a warehouse turned deadly with potentially dozens of people killed. it's an active situation at this hour. raj that high mathai is live at. investigators will be out there for days. >> reporter: they will be they're out there now, through the night. they will be. it's a sensetive story. not only such a tragedy but sensitive because two things are happening here. recovering bodies, there could be up to 25 bodies in that warehouse. there's also an investigation here of how something so terribly could go wrong. we have a team of reporters here on the scene in oakland. we have reporters back in the studio. and our investigative unit is missing on several angles of this story. but let's get started on what's happening here on 31st avenue. a lot's happening here. it's been almost 24 hours exactly since this fire. this was a community here. there are houses and other warehouses here with families,
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flowers, candles. there's also heavy machinery digging through the debris and hoping to recover all those bodies that might be inside. there are federal agents on the scene and here are the official numbers at this point. nine people killed, 25 missing. however, unofficially, officials have already told us that they expect these numbers to climb. the death toll certainly will rise. the building was not permitted to hold people but yet it was a colony for artists who not only had their art there but lived in this building as well. it could take up to 48 hours to really remove all these bodies. a potentially chilling look now inside this warehouse. this is video that we have just obtained. this is about an hour before the fire began. about 24 hours ago this grainy clip posted to instagram. appears to show a very cluttered room inside of this warehouse. one of the witnesses there said he was at this party, he had to walk up a single wooden plank to get to that upper story.
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it was shot by a young name alex france gathan, "oakland reminds me so much of jersey city sometimes." so far we have not heard from alex although everyone is commenting on his instagram but we have not heard from alex. that brings us to the family part of thisress there are so many families waiting. not only here in the bay area but across the world, waiting to hear from their loved ones. and with that said, there's a family center set up also here in oakland a few miles away. let's bring in nbc bay area's rick boone. >> reporter: raj, i'm outside the alameda county's sheriff's office where families are waiting for answers, holding out a lot of hope and prayer, prayer that their relatives may return that call or answer that text. >> what's going through your head light now? >> only thing i'm hoping that she'll call, hey, i'm here, let's go home.
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>> reporter: hoping for a miracle. but the uncle says it's likely she was inside and didn't make it out of the go ship warehouse when it caught fire. >> i don't know, obviously, i don't know much. >> reporter: vega's little brother and girlfriend went inside but haven't been heard from since. a heartbreaking day for the family, now feeling helpless. >> it's my brother. i want to find him. i need closure. >> reporter: also missing, peter wadsworth whose best friend said he lived on the first floor of the go ship warehouse. he hasn't been heard from all day. now she's fearing for the worst. still not found, jennifer tanoi. her friend says she was doing nail art inside the warehouse at the rave when the fire broke out. those are just some of several names on a long list at the alameda county sheriff's office, the list drawing a steady stream of family and friends all day long.
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now raj, that's all it is now, a lot of hope and a lot of prayer. and just wishing for a miracle. and also hoping for some answers. that's why a lot of them are in here, going throughout this building, trying to get those answers, trying to get some sense of what may have happened, whether their loved one is alive tonight or whether they have a chance of survival. when will they know? >> okay, rick boone reporting for us. our hearts and prayers go out to these families and friends of these people that might be trapped inside here and burned in this fire. now there is a family center hotline that you can call. if this is one of your family members you fear are missing call this number. it's based in the east bay in oakland. 510-382-3 510-382-3000. you're reminded about the
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diversity of oakland. you'll hear the bart train go by me. this town so is vibrant and diverse. this artist community was so well regarded within the world of artists. that's one part of the story. of course there's an investigation that's also unfolding. was this building up to code? were they permitted to have people inside? let's bring in nbc bay area's mark matthews who joins us on the other side of where i'm standing, on the other side of 31st avenue, mark take it away. >> reporter: raj, there's nine bodies that have been recovered so far. they've been hearing a lot about that. as you said, there are more inside. today, a sheriff's sergeant reported two dozen who were in that building friday night are still among the missing. sheriff sergeant ray kelly broke the news at 6:00 this evening. >> we know there are bodies in there that we can't get to. >> reporter: kelly told reporters the nine bodies that have been taken from the building were the easiest to get to. but more are buried under the collapsed roof and second floor. >> there's bodies that are trapped in there that we need to
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cut from the wreckage. >> kelly said the work will go slowly from fear of further collapse. besides recovering the victims they want to preserve as much of the building as possible for fire investigators. the cause of friday night's fire is still unknown. the shots of the building taken before the fire show a jumble of makeshift construction, including a staircase that one witness said was made from found objects. >> a little scary, the steps, the lighting. the steps getting up to the second floor. >> reporter: the warehouse is in this city council man's district and says fires like this are more common than they should be. >> up the street another one burned in a similar way, no permitting, no process. >> reporter: he says there was no occupancy permit for people to live in the warehouse and the city has been investigating. fire officials say they saw no signs of a sprinkler system. the councilman says because of this fire, the fire chief and fire marshals have agreed to step up enforcement of code
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violations. >> we've got to get our act together in oakland. >> reporter: the sheriff's deputies say that these streets around the warehouse will be closed for at least the next 48 hours. the next briefing, raj, is going to be here, 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. >> okay, and we will be here bright and early and through the night. thank you, mark. a couple of things that stood out in what's happening these last several hours. the mayor of oakland, livety shall have, said we need move forward with compassion. though it's a investigation we need compassion for the families of these victims. the fire chief in oakland said something, in her 30 years of her career in firefighting, this is the worst tragedy she has ever seen. it gives you a scope and a magnitude of what's happening here in oakland and what will continue to happen the next 48 hours. when we return we'll check in with some of the artists here that belong and are part of this colony a little bit later in the newscast. back to you in the studio. >> a lot of questions still need
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to be answered, raj. we'll check back with you a little later in the newscast, thank you. the headliner at last night's party, a popular electronic artist from wisconsin with the stage name golden donna. real name joel shanahan. hours after the fire a post on his facebook page revealed shanahan managed to escape the building and "he is heartbren and has several friends among the missing." the facebook page for the musician's tour ended up becoming an online rallying point for people looking for information of anyone who might have been at the show. some even started an online document with information about potential victims. >> many questions tonight about the safety of that warehouse. at an afternoon news conference the oakland building and permits department said it was currently investigating complaints about the warehouse, including lights around the building and reports of unpermitted construction inside. our investigative unit has been looking into these safety concerns.
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ba good joins us with what he found. >> reporter: we discovered the venue for last night's dance party was already under investigation by the city of oakland over potential structural problems. our investigative unit discovered the warehouse has actually been accused of a long list of violations over the years. and now after this latest fire, the city has launched yet another investigation into the warehouse. it accuses the facility of having a makeshift one-way stairwell built out of wooden pallets. relatives of the building owner adamantly deny that kind of shoddy work but firefighters blame that narrow stairwell for trapping victims inside. it was less than a month ago when oakland's planning and building department launched an earlier investigation into that very same property also citing complaints about some illegal construction inside. our investigative unit got ahold of some video showing a recent dance party inside that warehouse. this one took place in june.
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part of the structure was a work space for artists which included cramped quarters with tons of wooden furniture. some people even lived inside. officials tell us the warehouse wasn't permitted for housing or any types of parties. >> our continuing coverage of this deadly fire in oakland continues online. we're updating all our digital platforms with the latest information. you can check our twitter feed or sign up for breaking news alerts at the investigative unit speaks with the family of the woman who owns the oakland warehouse. i'm liz wagner. coming up next what they had to say about the fatal fire. plus we uncover complaints about other properties linked to that owner. friends of some of the missing attend an inter-faith vigil in oakland as they wait for word. some of the thoughts they're sharing tonight.
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it's a really tight-knit community of musicians and painters and artists. generally like people that don't make a lot of money but are really passionate about what they do. >> that is serena e left ston, one of the local artists who lives here in a local warehouse. she had friends inside this fire, she has no idea if those friends survived. it looks grim because inside there could be 25, up to 30 bodies. let me step out of the way and show you where we are here on 31st avenue down below, this street is obviously blocked off. you see a lot of heavy trucks bringing out debris. after they bring out debris the trucks leave here and then the
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fire crews go in and hopefully are able to find more bodies. right now the official count is nine bodies. however, unofficially, it's probably going to be more into the teens, maybe into the 20s. now let's bring in nbc bay area's christie smith in oakland. there was a vigil late tonight at one of the local churches in oakland. >> reporter: yeah, a man who led the vigil tonight said that at times like this, it can bring comfort for people to come together who are experiencing the same uncertainty, the same kind of grief. we did speak with a couple of people who told us that their friends are still missing after this tragic fire. people quietly reflected this evening at the chapel of the chimes here in oakland. a celebrant offered words of comfort saying to just be here and to be present. and those suffering are not doing this alone. many tonight were from the arts community in oakland and they tell us they've been watching facebook and other social media
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sites, seeing condolences for their friends. they're waiting for word. we spoke with one woman who told us four of her friends are still unaccounted for and a man who learned that his friend, a talented artist, is missing. >> they were amazing. you know? they're amazing. i'm sorry for everyone's loss. the people i didn't know. it's -- it's just -- i can't even -- it's mind-blowing. it's heartbreaking. >> it's tragedy. a lot of young people, you know, just going out to have a good time. wrong place at the wrong time, you know? >> many people who showed up tonight told us they did not know any of the missing put were touched by the tragedy and still holding out hope. there was also a book of condolences inside. the meditation chapel was open for much of the evening and we're told that it will reopen tomorrow at 8:30 for those who
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might need it. reporting live in oakland, christie smith, nbc bay area news. >> christie, thank you. it is such a vibrant artist community here in oakland. really this is not a local story, it's a national and international story. there were so many people here in their 20s and 30s from around the country and around the world, we know that because of social media and the calls that oakland police and these hotlines have been getting. again, we talk about what this is. it's a scene of recovering bodies. it's also a scene of condolences here. you see the flowers, makeshift memorials here, not only on east 12th street but also on 31st avenue right near the fruitvale bart station. back to you in the studio. >> that memorial will be growing for the next few days. thank you, raj. we are learning new details about the the family that owns the building. the family has several properties throughout the bay area. >> our investigative reporter liz wagner joins us. you talked to a family member what do they have to tell you? >> we spoke with the daughter and son-in-law of the property owner this afternoon.
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they say they learned about the fatal fire early this morning. they didn't want to talk on camera but provided us this statement from property owner ang. "i'm sorry but we do not have any comment. we are also trying to figure out what's going on, like everyone else. we're so sorry to hear about the tragedy. our condolences go out to the families and friends of those injured and those who lost their lives." in addition to the warehouse, ang is linked to 17 properties in the bay area, either individually or through a trust. according to property records, one of them is an apartment building on lombard street in san francisco. records show last year inspectors found two violations at that property. both involved cracked walls and loose ceilings and were later corrected. the city of oakland received four complaints about another property owned by ang, this one in the city's chinatown district. records show three of the complaints involve graffiti, the other had to do with sewer waste leaking from the property. the most recent complaint came
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this summer. but none of the buildings received as many complaints as the warehouse and surrounding area with nearly 10 during the past decade. we're going to switch gears and get a check on the forecast. >> we've got a peaceful night of weather. not a lot going on. chilly temperatures overall. we are expecting a lot of sunshine as we head into sunday. mostly clear skies tonight. heading into the later part of the day you may notice a drop in temperatures. that's because we're seeing the high pressure that dominated in the forecast which brought a nice sunny day. we are expecting a dry cool front to make its way in. that's going to drop our temperatures. scattered clouds over san francisco. we're seeing a bit of cloud cover. 51 all in all across the region. we are already seeing 40s along the coast. also down in the south bay as well. future cast showing the possibility of seeing some rain. but this is looking ahead at thursday and friday. as of now the models are conflicting in terms of how much
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rainfall. a look ahead at your sunday forecast, looking like 46 degrees to start your day off. ending in 50s. and your seven-day forecast also looking at nice clear skies. that will remain in the 50s for both san francisco and inland before we see the return of some rain into the later part of the week. tonight it's going to be a calm night and a chilly temperature. still to come, our continuing coverage of this breaking news. the oakland community coming together tonight. a live look at oracle arena. we'll tell you what the warriors did to honor the victims. also coming up, the search for artists who were performing at the concert in the warehouse when the flames broke out. this is my park. i'm like the mayor here.
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i know every bench, every tree, every squirrel -- -hey, what's up, andy. -andy: hey! same with my banking. with my bank of america mobile banking app, i can see my accounts all in one place. i can easily manage them and if something doesn't look right, i'm going to know. plus, i can set up alerts to help detect unusual activity. so i feel secure.
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in other words, no surprises. morning. hey, abby. like i said. the mayor. hey, abby. the team held a moment of silence befohe the warriors took a moment to mourn with their city tonight. the team held a moment of silence before their game against the phoenix suns. the team also posted the comments made by their coach steve kerr before the game. the coach offered the team's condolences saying, "we're all
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out there with you and we're all devastated today." the impact at the warehouse fire is being felt worldwide. those inside at the time of the fire, including visitors from out of state and out of the country. the los angeles-based record label 100% silk managed three artists who were performing in the warehouse. two of them still missing at this hour. the cofounder of the label issued a statement saying in part, "this is the saddest day amanda and i have ever had as long as we've worked in music. several of the people were interest mat friends of ours who we loved on a personal and creative level. this is beyond a nightmare. it's so unthinkable." that artist community, families, and the city of oakland trying to lean on one another for support as they wait for answers that could be days away. >> we take a look outside at the warehouse. raj is back with a final update after the break.
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amid concerns of a growing death toll in the east bay. 9 people are confirmed dead- a somber bay area tonight amid growing concerns of a growing death toll in the east bay. nine people so far confirmed dead. more than two dozen still missing after that devastating fire ripped through an east bay warehouse. >> let's check back in with raj mathai live near the scene. investigators will be there for at least two more days. >> yeah, and through the night. what we're seeing now the last several hours, not only just a nonstop parade of big trucks carrying out the debris, but also firefighters and fire crews and atf agents on top of that warehouse accessing it from on top, also from down below. they believe there could be as many as 25 to 30 bodies there. amidst all this chaos, amidst all the sadness and the frustration and anger, we saw this today. keep in mind this is an artist colony. people lived here, people worked
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here. one of the artists, and there are several of them here and have been throughout the day, took the time out just to paint a picture of this warehouse. a little peace in what's been a chaotic and tragic day. something that we haven't seen in oakland since 1991, oakland hills fire. that's going to do it for now. here's what we're going to do through the night, stay here with our crews, we'll be on social media awaiting the 8:00 a.m. news conference where unfortunately we think that death toll will rise. janelle and garvin, back to you in the studio. >> raj, thank you very much for your coverage tonight. we're going to have a special two-hour edition of "today in the bay" tomorrow morning starting at 7:00 a.m. that's going to include the next official city briefing on the fire. that's at 8:00 a.m. "meet the press" at 9:00 tolled by "pga tour golf." >> you can stay up to date on the story on digital platforms, online at, our app, and we'll have full team coverage tomorrow. good night. >> have a good night. "saturday night live" is next.
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