OAKLAND (CBS SF) – For even the most experienced of disaster scene investigators, the discovery of a pair of bodies hugging each other in their final moments amid the wreckage of an Oakland warehouse where 36 partygoers perished was difficult to handle.
Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly first told reporters of the discovery inside the Ghost Ship Fire warehouse and admitted it was an emotionally charged moment.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fawn Fire Grows to 6,850 Acres in Shasta County; No New Structures Destroyed
“We have found people that have died in each other’s arms, protecting each other, holding each other,” he said.
Although the identity of that couple hasn’t been disclosed, the families of fire victims Michela Gregory and Alex Vega believe it was them.
• Continuing Coverage: Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire
In an emotional interview with the East Bay Times, David Gregory said the couple was always together.
“There were some folks that were found hugging each other,’’ he told the paper. “I believe my daughter and Alex were hugging each other. To the end, they were together, trying to help each other, I’m sure. I know it.’”READ MORE: Costco Limits Water, Toilet Paper, Other Purchases Due To Supply Chain Delays
The coroner’s office said Michela’s driver’s license was used to identify her remains. The next day, Alex was identified via fingerprints.
Alex’s family feared the worse from the first hours after the fire on Saturday. The couple’s car was found in the parking lot of the nearby Fruitvale BART station and his Daniel pleaded with reporters outside the family support center for any word of his brother’s fate.
“I just want to go over there (to the fire site). I have my work boots on, I’m ready to go,” Daniel Vega said on Saturday. “Just give me some gloves. I’ll help out any way, shape or form, I don’t care. This is infuriating. I don’t know where my brother’s at. I just want to find him.”
Daniel said neither was answering his frantic texts and calls to their cell phones and that he knew they were together.
Now that his brother’s fate is known. Daniel is sure the couple that was discovered was Michela and Alex.
“At least we know they were together, and maybe they died together, protecting each other,’’ he told the paper.MORE NEWS: SF City Planners Won't Allow Taqueria El Farolito In North Beach Due To 'Chain Store' Ban
The paper said a memorial for Alex Vega and Michela Gregory was scheduled for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Vega family’s San Bruno home.