11 Victims Identified in Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire - NBC Chicago
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11 Victims Identified in Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire

The death toll in the warehouse fire is expected to rise as recovery crews search the rubble



    Eleven of the 36 victims who died in the Oakland warehouse fire late Friday night were identified as of Monday morning. Kris Sanchez reports. (Published Monday, Dec. 5, 2016)

    Eleven of the 36 victims who died in the Oakland warehouse fire late Friday night have been identified as of Monday morning.

    But only seven of the victim's names were released so that families could have a moment to grieve, Alameda County Sheriff's officials and Oakland police said. Among those who died is the son of a sheriff's deputy.

    The city also knows the identity of an eighth victim, but would not release the person's name because the 17-year-old is a minor. However, on Monday, officials from the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco identified the teen as Draven McGill, an 11th-grade student at the school.

    Student body president Gabriel Bibliowicz said that Draven was a "really sweet" guy who mostly "kept to himself." He was a "gifted baritone and a quiet leader with a strong voice."

    The seven victims who have been officially identified are Donna Kellogg, 32, of Oakland; Cash Askew, 22, of Oakland; David Cline, 35, of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado; Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek; Travis Hough, 35, of Oakland; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward.

    The death toll in the warehouse fire is expected to rise, but it will be days before recovery crews can access the entire structure, officials said. As of Monday, they had made it through 70 percent of the building.

    Kellogg, one of the first people to be confirmed dead, was going to culinary school and worked at High Wire Roasters coffee shop in Berkeley. Her coworkers learned Sunday night that she was killed in the fire.

    Kellogg was a former resident of Chico who graduated from Chico High. One friend described her as a freewheeling, free-spirited, candid person.

    Wittenauer, better known by his stage name Nex Iuguolo, was an electronic music artist and vocalist for the band Symbiotix Fungi.

    Hough was a musician with the Oakland-based electronic band Ghost of Lightning. Hough often went by the stage name Travis Blitzen.

    Askew, another musician, was a member of the Bay Area dream pop band Them Are Us Too. 2 Survivors Describe Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire2 Survivors Describe Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire

    Survivors Nikki Kelber and Carmen Brito describe the horrific scene inside the converted Oakland warehouse where they lived as they fled for their lives and tried to help others escape the building where dozens died in a fire late Friday night. "I came out of my space and saw an entire wall on fire 20 feet from where I was standing," Brito said as anguish echoed from her voice. "I just knew there was nothing that could be done." In a matter of 30 seconds, Brito managed to make a beeline for the front door and escaped the inferno consuming her home. She described the entire ordeal by saying "everything happened so quickly." Her friend, Kelber, jumped from her loft, grabbed her cat and switched on a head lamp to help navigate the foggy maze. Her ghastly escape through the dark was complete in a matter of moments. "I feel like it was 30 seconds from when I looked down the hall to when it was pretty much engulfed," Kelber said. "It was so fast."
    (Published Monday, Dec. 5, 2016)

    Gomez-Hall was an administrative assistant at Counterpoint Press who called himself a decomposer of music.

    Cline was a UC Berkeley graduate, having earned degrees in cognitive science and computer science.

    Hoda's friends on Facebook said she was a teacher, gardener and a hardworking person who loved children.

    Hoda taught a first through third-grade class at the Urban Montessori in East Oakland. On Monday, Hoda's family attended a small meomrial on campus where students shared stories about their teacher and presented them with cards and art work.

    The victims' families have been notified. Other names are expected to be released in the coming days. Some of the victims are non-citizens, officials said.

    The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau has asked that the families of people who are still missing "preserve sources of DNA," including combs and toothbrushes, to "prevent future delays" in the identification process. She also asked that such items be stored in clean paper sacks, but not sent to the coroner's bureau. Officials will ask for them, if needed.