As authorities investigate the deadly Oakland “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire, officials announced Tuesday that they believe they found all 36 bodies of the victims who died Friday night.
During their search, police learned that some of the victims who knew they weren’t going to make it out texted loved ones before succumbing to their fate. Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said victims sent “I’m going to die” and “I love you” messages to their family and friends.
Kelly also noted that rescue personnel found bodies that appeared to be “protecting each other, holding each other.”
As of Monday, officials had only finished searching 85 percent of the debris, but they said they don’t think there are any more bodies to find, The Daily Beast reports.
The victims ranged in age from just 17 years old to their late 30s. A candle light vigil in remembrance of the victims was held Monday night at Oakland's Lake Merritt.
Although it’s still unclear how the fire started, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said that murder charges are not out of the question as a potential outcome of the investigation.
“We owe it to the community and those who perished in this fire, and those who survived the fire to be methodical, to be thorough, and to take the amount of time it takes to be able to look at every piece of potential evidence,” O’Malley said.
On Tuesday morning, the warehouse building landlord, Derick Almena, appeared on the “Today Show” for what was supposed to be an exclusive interview, but became a public emotional meltdown.
Instead of answering the questions co-hosts Tamron Hall and Matt Lauer asked, Almena just apologized profusely to the families of the deceased and refused to go forward with the scheduled interview.
“I didn’t do anything ever in my life that would lead me up to this moment. I’m an honorable man. I’m a proud man,” he said.
“No, I’m not going to answer these questions on this level. I’d rather get on the floor and be trampled by the parents. I’d rather let them tear at my flesh than answer these ridiculous questions. I’m so sorry, I’m incredibly sorry," he said just before Lauer cut the interview short.
The whole incident is an unimaginable tragedy that has shocked and devastated the nation. While Almena’s remorse may be pure and genuine, accountability needs to be held by someone for the three-dozen lives that were lost in the disaster.
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