U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, mourned victims of the Oakland warehouse fire disaster that has claimed at least 36 lives, describing the incident as devastating.
The fire gutted a converted warehouse over the weekend during an electronic dance party at the California’s city.
“Today our prayers go out to the people of Oakland, California in the aftermath of this weekend’s deadly warehouse fire, one of the worst fires in the state’s history.
“While we still don’t know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated.
“Many people, including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them, have tragically lost their lives,” Obama said.
The president thanked “the dedicated first responders who have been working tirelessly for days to contain the situation, recover victims, and treat the wounded.
“My administration is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure that authorities have everything they need as they continue response operations and investigate the cause of the fire.
“Oakland is one of the most diverse and creative cities in our country, and as families and residents pull together in the wake of this awful tragedy, they will have the unwavering support of the American people.”
Officials have asked victims’ families to preserve their loved ones’ personal belongings, including hairbrushes and toothbrushes, which could contain DNA samples.
It could take weeks to identify victims through DNA and dental records, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly.
Kelly added that officials were also working with the transgender community to identify some of the victims.