Teens, Music Makers Among Fire Victims

Teenagers, the son of a local sheriff’s deputy and young artists who loved music are among the dozens of people who died when a fire broke out at an underground dance party in a warehouse that visitors called a death trap.

The victims of a party Friday night in Oakland included 17-year-olds and people from Europe and Asia, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said. Authorities have recovered 33 bodies, with more expected as crews continue to clear debris.

Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Emergency personnel stage in front of the site of a warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif.

The city of Oakland identified some of the victims as Cash Askew, 22, David Clines, 35, Travis Hough, 35, and Donna Kellogg, 32, all of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado, Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek, and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward.

Officials said they had identified an eighth victim, but they were not releasing the name because the person was 17 years old.

Kelly also revealed the death of a deputy’s son at a news conference Sunday, but he did not release the name.

Kellogg’s father said he was not ready to comment further on his daughter’s death.

As names of the dead were being announced, friends and family of the missing anxiously awaited news.

A tearful Tammy Tasoff, 29, called Peter Wadsworth a best friend who was like an older brother to her.

The dental student said Wadsworth always looked out for her, doing the little things that would make her life easier. He would organize her messy files and give her advice and fix her computer if she needed help, Tasoff said. He bought video games because he knew she loved them, and he would often watch her play, she said.

“Usually he’d say let’s play video games and then he’d say no, I just want to watch you play. He’d make me food. He took really good care of me. He was like my big brother,” she said, sobbing.

Andy Kershaw, a DJ, has several friends missing from the party, including his wife, photographer Amanda Allen, and a fellow DJ, Johnny Igaz. He said he had not heard from authorities as of early Sunday.

Kershaw called his wife vibrant, awesome and magnetic.

Kershaw had never heard of the warehouse, and he was appalled by the crowded and unsafe conditions. “The whole point of a warehouse party is it’s supposed to be an empty warehouse,” he said.

Igaz was reportedly playing a set when the fire broke out. He listed as a record buyer at Green Apple Books and Music in San Francisco. His Facebook page was littered with tearful posts from friends who called him a beautiful soul and a true friend.

Some friends and loved ones are holding out hope.

Yuri Kundin of San Francisco said he is awaiting word about his friends, Alex Ghassan and Hanna Henriikka Ruax. He hasn’t heard from the couple for the last few days and has plastered notes looking for them on social media. Henriikka Ruax is from Finland.

“We’re just hoping to hear some good news from a hospital,” he told reporters Sunday outside a sheriff’s building where friends and family had gathered to hear about their loved ones. “We don’t know what’s happening.”