OAKLAND (CBS SF & AP) — Like dozens of others Monday morning, the family and friends of Sarah Hoda were in mourning after she was identified as a victim of the deadly weekend Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire that claimed the lives of 32 others and possibly more.
Hoda was among the seven people officially identified by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office by late Sunday. For the families of as many as 50 others the wait continued.
Continuing Coverage: Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire
In a Facebook post, Hoda’s friend Carol Crewdson described the Walnut Creek Montessori teacher and avid gardener as someone who “loved children and the earth.”
Cash Askew, 22, David Clines, 35, Travis Hough, 35, and Donna Kellogg, 32, all of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado, and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward.
A 17-year-old victim had also been identified, but his name was not released.
Kai Thomas was with a group of red-eyed classmates from an arts high school in San Francisco and friends of the victim. He stood pressed against police tape Sunday near the street corner where the “Ghost Ship,” a warehouse converted to artist studios and illegal living spaces, rapidly went up in flames late Friday.
Three of his friends had gone to the party, only two were able to escape.
“It was just really smoky and hard to see,” said Thomas, a high school junior who wasn’t there, but recounted what he had been told by two others who didn’t want to speak. “They jumped off the second-floor balcony and ran out.”
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said by late Sunday authorities have recovered 33 bodies, with more expected as crews continue to clear debris overnight.
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.”