ATF helping with Oakland warehouse blaze probe - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

ATF helping with Oakland warehouse blaze probe

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Investigators with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping with the probe of a warehouse blaze in Oakland that killed 36 people.

Investigators say they believe they have located the section of the building where the fire started, but the cause remains unknown.

Micah Allison, who along with her husband, Derick Ion Almena, managed the artist collective housed inside a warehouse known as Ghost Ship, says ATF investigators interviewed her husband "extensively."

An official says several of the people who died in an Oakland warehouse fire texted goodbye messages to their families.

Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly told reporters Monday some of the victims texted relatives, "I'm going to die," and "I love you."

Kelly says rescue crews have found bodies of people "protecting each other, holding each other."

Hundreds of people holding candles honored those who died in the fire at a vigil Monday night in Oakland's Lake Merritt.

Those in the crowd embracing each other or holding up candles or flowers and saying aloud the names of people they lost in the blaze.

Several people in the crowd have signs offering "free hugs."

The founder of the Oakland artists' colony says he didn't know the event was taking place and that police had visited the place several times.

Derick Ion Almena told San Jose television station KNTV in an interview Monday that he wasn't at the warehouse Friday night because he and his wife had decided to stay at a hotel because he was exhausted and their children had school.

He says about 20 people lived there as part of a collective of young artists and that he was like the group's grandfather.

He says police have been in and out of the building in the last few years to respond to break-ins and other concerns of people who lived there and that they never pointed out any safety concerns.

He says they would say: " 'Wow, what an amazing space.' "

Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Johnna Watson didn't immediately return calls for comment on Monday.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern says sheriff's officials don't believe additional bodies will be found in the Oakland warehouse fire.

Ahern told The Associated Press Monday he couldn't be absolutely positive until the entire recovery effort was complete. The death toll is at 36.

Fire officials have said crews have gone through roughly three-quarters of the building.

Investigators with the district attorney's office are making sure crews removing debris don't jeopardize any evidence in a potential criminal investigation.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Monday her office has just started its probe and has not yet determined whether a crime even occurred. But she said charges could range from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

Investigators with the district attorney's office are making sure crews removing debris don't jeopardize any evidence in a potential criminal investigation.

The fire erupted during a dance party late Friday night. It's unclear how it started.

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