Death toll rises to 36 in Oakland warehouse fire

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Rachel Saxer (left) embraces friend La Tron Dec. 4 at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal warehouse fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

Rachel Saxer (left) embraces friend La Tron Dec. 4 at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal warehouse fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California. Photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

The number of those killed in a warehouse fire in Oakland, California, over the weekend rose to 36 Monday morning as authorities continued to search for what sparked the blaze.

Authorities had to temporarily stop the search for bodies when they discovered a wall dangerously leaning inward, reported the Associated Press.

Eleven victims have been identified so far, but their names have not been released. Firefighters have searched about half of the building and expect to find more victims. Officials said it could be days before the search is complete.

President Barack Obama said in a statement Monday that his administration was in contact with state and local authorities to make sure they had everything they needed. “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.”

The fire, which ignited Friday night, engulfed the warehouse in the Fruitvale district of Oakland.

Even before the fire, the city was investigating the building for code violations. Neighbors had complained that people were illegally living there.

KQED reporter Devin Katayama describes how the building was the subject of complaints.

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