- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area say they are prepared to deal with up to 40 deaths after a fire broke out at a warehouse party in Oakland, California.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly says Saturday that nine people are confirmed dead, and that he expects that number to rise.

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says some people escaped and that between 50 and 100 people were at the warehouse at the time of the fire.

The warehouse had been partitioned into several artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins, lamps, and other objects. Deloche-Reed says the building didn’t have a clear exit path and that the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets.

Fire officials say the building was not equipped with sprinklers.

Kelly says firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots from the blaze that sparked around 11:30 p.m. Friday. The cause is unclear.

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