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  • 12/02/16--02:12: Swastika Tagging Spree in LA

  • A vandal has been spray painting swastikas and hateful messages on buildings in downtown Los Angeles and residents are hoping surveillance video can help catch him.

    Humboldt Farmacy Dispensary reached out to NBC4 with surveillance footage from Tuesday night that shows a man, wearing a baseball cap and a hoodie, walking up to a wall of the building in the 2400 block of Hunter Street and spray-painting a swastika on it.

    "We're all minorities here, and so it just sucks," said Daniel Sung, the dispensary's manager. "It's pretty discouraging to think that an area like this that's up and coming, getting a lot nicer, that people want to go around and promote symbols of hate."

    The dispensary wasn't the only target of the vandal — neighbors said swastikas were painted on every building in the area. 

    Aaron Moreno, who lives down the street from the dispensary, said he's been vandalized twice in the past week. He used his own spray paint cans to paint over as many as 18 swastikas and other messages, such as one that simply said "Hitler." He said he found another swastika days after he tried covering them up.

    "The effects of the symbols are longer lasting," Moreno said.

    Sung said he's filed a report with the Los Angeles Police Department. He and Moreno believe the vandalism isn't aimed at anyone specific on their block.

    "The (vandal's) intent is to use that symbol in order to inflict some amount of psychological and emotional harm on other people," Moreno said.

    Police said Friday they received a report of the vandalism and were investigating.



    Photo Credit: Humboldt Farmacy Dispensary

    A vandal was caught on camera spray painting a swastika on a building in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.A vandal was caught on camera spray painting a swastika on a building in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

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    The CEOs of General Motors, Disney and Wal-Mart are among those who will have Donald Trump's ear during his presidency.

    They are all part of the President's Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of CEOs, business executives and thinkers announced Friday who are to regularly meet with Trump to discuss the best ways to create jobs.

    The group will be led by the chairman and CEO of investment group Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman. The Trump transition team said in a statement that it believes the forum will help the president-elect better understand how government policy affects the private sector.

    “This forum brings together CEOs and business leaders who know what it takes to create jobs and drive economic growth,” Trump said in a statement. “My administration is committed to drawing on private sector expertise and cutting the government red tape that is holding back our businesses from hiring, innovating, and expanding right here in America.”

    President-elect Trump is not the first to create a team of this sort. President Obama created a similar group in his first term, the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which provided non-partisan advice on job creation and the economy. Unlike Trump's group, it included union leaders.

    Other members of Trump's forum include:
    Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, Former Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission
    Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
    Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
    Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JP Morgan Chase & Co
    Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock
    Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company 
    Rich Lesser, President and CEO, Boston Consulting Group 
    Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Jim McNerney, Former Chairman, President, and CEO, Boeing
    Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners
    Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM
    Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Economics, Hoover Institute, Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
    Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman and CEO, EY
    Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO, General Electric
    Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, Vice Chairman of IHS Markit



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    President-elect Donald Trump stands outside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.President-elect Donald Trump stands outside the clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.

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    Domino's Japan has pulled the reins on its special caribou-based delivery program just one week after it launched, after the reindeer continually shook their antlers, refused to stop at delivery spots, and kept dislodging the pizzas from their delivery pouches, NBC News reported.

    The pizza giant announced Thursday that it didn't want to be saddled with any more reindeer training operations at its Hokkaido Integrated Research Center, and would return Santa's helpers to where they belong.

    But the buck didn't stop there. Undefeated, Domino's has instead started to deliver via scooters dressed as reindeer, complete with antlers and a fluffy tail.



    Photo Credit: Dominos Japan

    A reindeer at the Hokkaido training center in Japan. Dominos canceled a reindeer delivery program after trainers found that controlling the reindeer is difficult.A reindeer at the Hokkaido training center in Japan. Dominos canceled a reindeer delivery program after trainers found that controlling the reindeer is difficult.

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    In 2015, Americans spent $3.2 trillion on medical expenses, up by 5.8 percent since 2014, NBC News reported.

    Experts say there are also indications that health spending increased because people sought medical treatment for diseases they previously ignored because of lack of resources, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    Spending on prescription drugs also surged last year, with a nine percent increase since 2014.

    "Recent rapid growth was due to increased spending for new medicines (particularly for specialty drugs such as those used to treat hepatitis C), price growth in existing brand-name drugs, increased spending on generics, and a decrease in the number of expensive blockbuster drugs whose patents expired," the CMS report read.



    Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

    In this Feb. 18, 2016 file photo, Doctor Leonid Basovich, left, examines Medi-Cal patient Michael Epps, at the WellSpace Clinic in Sacramento, California.In this Feb. 18, 2016 file photo, Doctor Leonid Basovich, left, examines Medi-Cal patient Michael Epps, at the WellSpace Clinic in Sacramento, California.

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    Tony Torrez was sentenced to 16 years in jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Dec. 1, 2016 after he plead guilty to the murder of 4-year-old Lilly Garcia. Garcia was fatally shot in the head by Torrez in a 2015 road rage incident.

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    Bakkavor Foods USA is recalling two kinds of Trader Joe's hummus over concerns about possible Listeria contamination, which can cause serious and sometimes deadly infections in young children and the elderly.

    The recall applies to Trader Joe's Mediterranean Hummus and Trader Joe's White Bean and Basil Hummus sold in 30 states with "USE BY" date codes up through and including Dec. 15. The products come in 16-ounce plastic tubs with SKU numbers printed on the top labels and "USE BY" date codes stamped on the bottom of the tubs, along with the plant identification code "C."

    There haven't been any reports of illness, and Bakkavor Foods USA said it implemented the voluntary recall as a precautionary measure.

    Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

    Young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.

    Click here for a list of affected products and states, as well as information on obtaining a refund.  

    Less than two weeks ago, Sabra Dipping Company issued a voluntary recall for a variety of its hummus products over similar Listeria concerns. That recall affects hummus products that were made before Nov. 8, 2016, and sold across the United States and Canada at supermarkets and other stores.



    Photo Credit: Handout

    Trader Joe's Mediterranean hummus is one of the brands affected by the recall.Trader Joe's Mediterranean hummus is one of the brands affected by the recall.

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    In Michigan, one pet owner may rue the day she adopted her parrot.

    Glenna Duram is currently on trial, charged with murdering her 45-year-old husband Martin on May 12, 2015. Bud, her African grey parrot, is the sole witness to the crime. And he’s been vocal about what he saw.

    "Don't f---ing shoot," Bud said on a video recorded by family members weeks after the killing, NBC News reports.

    "That bird picks up anything and everything," Martin’s mother, Lillian Duram, told Today in June. "He's got the filthiest mouth around."

    The local prosecutor previously told NBC affiliate WOOD in Grand Rapids that he has not ruled out putting the African Grey parrot on the stand.

    Duram, who survived what prosecutors believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, is charged with first-degree murder.



    Photo Credit: WOOD

    A Michigan couple is hoping a foul-mouthed parrot will help find their son's killer.A Michigan couple is hoping a foul-mouthed parrot will help find their son's killer.

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    A former Army Special Forces officer is accusing retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be defense secretary, of "leaving my men to die" after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001, NBC News reported.

    Mattis has not commented publicly on the incident, which was chronicled in a 2011 New York Times bestselling book, "The Only Thing Worthy Dying For," by Eric Blehm, which portrays Mattis as stubbornly unwilling to help the Green Berets.

    His actions, which were not formally investigated at the time, are now likely to get far more scrutiny during the retired general's Senate confirmation process.

    Trump's transition team did not respond to request for comment from NBC News.

    Mattis, whose 2013 retirement from the military means he would need a waiver from Congress to serve as the civilian Pentagon chief, did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.



    Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

    File photo -- U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination.File photo -- U.S. Central Command Commander-nominee Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination.

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    A professor stabbed to death on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles on Friday was identified as psychology Professor Bosco Tjan, university officials said.

    Tjan was killed Friday afternoon at the University Park Campus in the Seeley G. Mudd building, officials said. An unidentified student was arrested in connection with the death, officials said.

    Tjan served as a co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center and was an expert in perception, vision, and vision cognition. He joined the USC faculty in 2001.

    "We are extremely proud of our Department of Public Safety officers for their quick response, and our university counselors for immediately offering support at the scene," C. L. Max Nikias, USC's president, said in a statement. "As the Trojan Family mourns Professor Tjan’s untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts. We encourage anyone in need of support to reach out to Student Counseling Services or the Center for Work and Family Life. On Monday, our dean of religious life, Varun Soni, will bring the campus community together for reflection and prayer."

    The university's Trojans Alert emergency texting service quickly put out a message urging students, faculty and employees to stay away from the Seeley G. Mudd building, which houses science and medical classrooms.

    "Police-related incident in progress at Seely G. Mudd. No danger to USC or the community. Stay away from the area," the text read.

    The 10-story building is in the heart of campus near the school's running track.

    USC was rocked last year by the beating death of a graduate student who was attacked by several people as he walked back to his off-campus apartment late at night after attending a study session.

    Xinran Ji, a 24-year old engineering student, managed to return to his apartment, where his roommate found him.

    In 2012 Chinese graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu were shot to death as they sat in their BMW about a mile from campus.

    After Ji's murder USC officials sought to reassure parents of Chinese exchange students that the campus and its surrounding areas are safe.

    USC has 44,000 students enrolled, including more than 10,000 international students.

    A highly competitive school, it enrolled only about 16 percent of the more than 54,000 people who applied for its freshman class this year.

    NBC4 wire services contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A faculty member was possibly stabbed on campus Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.A faculty member was possibly stabbed on campus Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

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    An unexpected dissenting voice came out Friday against a Trump administration brokered deal to keep a Carrier plant in Indiana and save around 1,000 jobs, NBC News reported.

    Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in an op-ed for the Young Conservatives website called the deal, which was reportedly negotiated by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, an example of government intervention that could lead to "crony capitalism."

    "Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember?" Palin wrote. "Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail."



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A group formed by families who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting has started a new public service campaign designed to teach people to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating gun violence.

    The Know the Signs campaign from Sandy Hook Promise includes the launch on Friday of a new 2 ½-minute video public service announcement designed to show how easy it is to overlook at-risk behavior.

    The group's founders include Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden. Both had 6-year-old sons who were among the 26 people killed by a gunman inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

    The PSA can be viewed on YouTube.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Dec. 18, 2012, file photo, Robert Soltis, of Newtown, Conn., pauses after making the sign of the cross at a memorial to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in Newtown.In this Dec. 18, 2012, file photo, Robert Soltis, of Newtown, Conn., pauses after making the sign of the cross at a memorial to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims in Newtown.

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    Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was medically evacuated from the South Pole earlier this week, is continuing to recover in a New Zealand hospital — and is in good spirits thanks to a visit from a friend, NBC News reported.

    "I had a surprise visitor this morning," the 86-year-old rocket man tweeted from his hospital bed Saturday, along with photos of himself and NASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Dava Newman.

    [[404474936, C]]

    The tweet called Newman a "longtime friend."

    Aldrin had been on a tourism adventure to Antarctica when "his condition deteriorated," according to White Desert, which organizes luxury tourism trips to the icy continent. He was evacuated on the first flight out as a precaution and transferred to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, where doctors determined he had fluid in his lungs and prescribed him antibiotics.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24:  Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin testifies before the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee on Capitol Hill February 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin testifies before the Senate Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee on Capitol Hill February 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of "U.S. Human Exploration Goals and Commercial Space Competitiveness."

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    A survivor of the deadly fire at an Oakland warehouse said Saturday he's thankful to be alive.

    Bob Mule told NBC News he belongs to a 24-hour artist collective occupying the building that burned overnight, leaving at least nine people dead and 25 missing. 

    Mule was seen being treated in an ambulance early Saturday. He suffered "pretty gnarly" burns on his arms, hands and shoulder, he said. His vest was charred and appeared to have taken the brunt of the flames.

    When the fire broke out, Mule said he was downstairs and about to start painting. But the acrid smell of smoke alerted him and a fellow artist to what exploded into a three-alarm fire.

    "We were trying to figure out where the smoke was coming from, and we saw where the fire was, it was on the back left corner of the space," he said. "It all happened really quickly. The fire went up really, really quickly."

    When Mule tried to retrieve some personal belongings, he saw that a fellow collective member "had broken his ankle and was calling out for help." Mule tried helping him out, but "there was a lot of stuff in the way and the flames were too much," he said.

    "There was too much smoke and ... I had to let him go," Mule said.

    Although glad to be alive, he remained worried about his friend.

    "I haven't seen him and there've been flames shooting out of the building for the past 30 minutes. ... I hope he's OK," Mule said.

    Mule said before the fire broke out, the collective was having an event with some music, art and projections. He said the collective consists of 18 working artists throughout the day.

    "It's like a living piece of art; it's always in flux, as far as the space goes," he said. "There's always something being built, being changed or rearranged."



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Bob Mule tells how he was able to escape a deadly fire in Oakland but had to leave a fellow artist behind.Bob Mule tells how he was able to escape a deadly fire in Oakland but had to leave a fellow artist behind.

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    A raging blaze fueled by winds engulfed at least eight buildings in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Saturday afternoon, emitting a massive plume of smoke that could be seen for miles around.

    Cambridge firefighters struck 10 alarms for the fire near Berkshire and Vandine streets, which burned at least eight buildings and damaged up to 11 in total, plus several cars parked along the street.

    Mayor Denise Simmons says approximately six first responders sustained minor injuries and were taken to an area hospital, where they are doing well.

    "As far as we know, no residents have been hurt," Simmons said. "I'm amazed and I'm very pleased that we don't have any major casualties that we know of."

    As of 8:15 p.m., fire officials said the blaze had been contained.

    Responders' injuries ranged from a fall to breathing problems, according to officials.

    Multiple roads have been blocked off, and authorities are warning people to stay away from the area. More than 1,600 electrical customers have been left in the dark, because crews had to cut power to safely fight the blaze when it started burning primary electrical wires. Fire officials say they're uncertain when the power will be restored.

    Between 130 to 140 firefighters from 17 surrounding communities responded to the fire for mutual aid.

    Fire officials say the close proximity of the buildings, which appear to be mostly residential, also played a role in the fire's quick destruction. Wind gusts of more than 20 mph have been recorded in the area.

    "They responded very quickly to get the situation under control as fast as possible, and all the cities and towns," Simmons said. "I'm just very grateful for the amount of help and support that we've gotten from all the neighboring cities and towns around Cambridge to make sure that we keep the community safe."

    Although the cause of the fire is still unclear, witnesses say they heard an explosion from a home under construction in the area.

    Upwards of 60 people are believed to have been displaced, Cambridge Fire Chief Gerald Reardon says.

    "This looks like a third world country after a bombing," said Reardon. "It's a lot of devastation."

    The Frisoli Youth Center was initially where those displaced by the fire were directed to go; however, the shelter has been affected by the ongoing power outage.

    Simmons is recommending those who would like to help displaced residents make a donation to the Mayors Fire Relief Fund at Cambridge City Hall for now: Mayors Fire Relief Fund, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA 02139



    Photo Credit: necn

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    Some people steal sports cars when they want to joyride. Others boost a motorcycle.

    Nickolas Ellias allegedly prefers the bus. 

    Police said they arrested Ellias, 24, of Staten Island, for stealing an MTA bus from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in St. George sometime between midnight and 3 a.m.

    He was spotted driving the bus and later arrested.

    Ellias was caught doing the same thing in June 2014 and arrested then as well. At the time, his foster father reportedly said the young man was obsessed with buses. 

    He is facing charges of grand larceny auto and criminal mischief in the current case. 

    Ellias's case recalls another, more famous New York City transit thief - Darius McCollum, 51, who has been arrested more than 30 times for stealing buses and trains. 


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    After the horrific news of at least nine people killed with dozens more feared dead following a three-alarm warehouse fire in Oakland, many organizations and Bay Area residents are reaching out to help.

    The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has started an online fundraising page and has raised more than $40,000. Gray Area is also slated to hold a vigil starting at 6 p.m. at 2665 Mission St. in San Francisco.

    The Oakland Athletics tweeted their support for those affected by the fire. "We will work together to heal our community," the team wrote. The A's also sought donations and pledged to match contributions up to $30,000

    The Golden State Warriors also plan to hold a moment of silence for the victims at Saturday night's game. Proceeds from the game's Warriors Community Foundations 50/50 raffle will support family assistance services for the Oakland fire, team officials said.

    A vigil service will also be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, 4499 Piedmont Ave.

    Organizers from the event held at the warehouse have created a list on Facebook to try and figure out who is alive and accounted for. Families and friends took to Facebook and Twitter to express condolences for those who had died in the fire, and search for those still missing.

    The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and American Red Cross have set up a family assistance center at 2425 E. 12th Street. Grief counselors will be on hand. People can call 510-382-3000 for help.


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    At least nine people were killed and 25 others are unaccounted for after a three-alarm fire erupted at a warehouse party in Oakland late Friday night, fire officials said.

    Photo Credit: AP

    This photo provided by @seungylee14 shows the scene of a fire in Oakland, early Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. The blaze began at about 11:30 p.m. on FridayThis photo provided by @seungylee14 shows the scene of a fire in Oakland, early Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. The blaze began at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday

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    At least nine people were killed and 25 others unaccounted for after a massive blaze ripped through a warehouse party in Oakland late Friday, but officials are preparing for the death toll to rise.

    In what is being described as one of the deadliest structure fires in the U.S. in recent history, the fire gutted the 1300 block of 31st Avenue at about 11:30 p.m., Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said. Officials found no evidence of smoke alarms or sprinklers at the now-destroyed building, where the charred roof collapsed onto the second floor, which in places dropped onto the first floor. 

    On social media, people referred to the building as the “Oakland Ghost Ship,” an artist's conclave. City officials described as a “a labyrinth of artist studios."

    A Facebook event page indicates that the fire sparked during a Golden Donna show, which was promoted by Los Angeles-based dance label 100% Silk. Bob Mule, a survivor, said the space is also occupied by a 24-hour artist collective that he belongs to. 

    Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said the building was "subdivided into other occupancies" and between 50 and 100 people were partying on the upper floor. Mark Hoffman, operations chief at the Oakland Fire Department, described the building as a "labyrinth," dotted with wood workers, sculptors, painters and more.

    However, Darin Ranelletti, of the Oakland Planning Department, said the building was only permitted for use as a warehouse. City officials are investigating whether people were living in the warehouse illegally before Friday's lethal fire.

    The party that young electronic music fans flocked to, Ranelletti said, "would require a special permit from the city, and such a permit had not been issued." 

    Reed confirmed there were "nine known fatalities" around 7 a.m. Saturday, and that at least 25 others were unaccounted for. Around 9 a.m., Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. JD Nelson said officials are preparing for about 40 deaths based on the number of confirmed fatalities and numerous reports of missing people. 

    Six coroners' tents were set up outside the building Saturday, while friends and strangers alike left flowers on a fence near the destroyed building.

    Later in the day, Sheriff's spokesman Ray Kelly said nine bodies had been recovered and taken to the coroner's office, but declined to "play the numbers game." Several dozen people initially reported as missing have been located and reunited with their families, but a few dozen more remain unaccounted for, he said. 

    While some families' fears were put at ease, others remain in an "unknown stage" and are "grieving," Kelly said.

    The inferno reduced the building to a smoldering skeleton, and Kelly said that weakened walls have complicated and delayed the recovery and identification process. Fire crews were forced to withdraw from the unstable structure because it needs to be shored up.

    Officials will need to use heavy equipment, including cranes, dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers, to create a safe path into the building. Crews have to work carefully, though, Kelly said, so bodies aren't scooped up with debris. 

    It may take "considerable" time before victims are identified, according to Kelly. Investigators will be at the scene through late Sunday, and possibly into early Monday

    Reed emphasized that just because someone is unaccounted for does not mean the person is dead. Officials are working to determine if attendees had taken themselves to the hospital or simply left the warehouse.

    "One of the issues," Reed said, was that the building had only "one way up and down from the second floor and it’s my understanding that stairwell was kind of like a makeshift, that they put it together with pallets."

    When she tried to enter the building, Reed said she was "just able to get in about 10 feet." Kelly added that it has proven "tricky" to maneuver in the building because of debris, downed beams, a collapsed roof and leaking water.

    "This is not an easy task by any means," Kelly said.

    The victims are primarily people in their 20s and 30s, but some hail from foreign countries, Kelly said.

    "It appears that people either made it out or didn’t make it out," he said. "There’s not a lot of other injuries that have been reported to us at this time." 

    The first fire crews on the scene "found a building that had smoke and flames coming out of three sides," Baker said. They made an "aggressive" attack to put the fire out, but conditions changed, forcing them to "retreat" from the then-"defensive" blaze.

    It took 11 fire engines, three fire trucks and 52 firefighters "four hours to get the fire out," Baker said.

    Reed said that 25 people were killed in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, but "as a single-structure fire, I don't think Oakland has had a fatality of this magnitude in a while."

    "It's going to be a huge impact, not just on the firefighters but on the families, on this community and the city as a whole," she added.

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement that the fire was an "immense tragedy" and thanked emergency responders.

    "Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy," she said.

    The Oakland Athletics tweeted their support for those affected by the fire. "We will work together to heal our community," the team wrote. The A's also sought donations and pledged to match contributions up to $30,000. 

    Event organizers have created a list on Facebook to try to figure out who is alive and accounted for. Families and friends took to Facebook and Twitter to express condolences for those who had died in the fire and search for those still missing. Vigils were also planned for Saturday evening.

    But some, like Daniel Vega, who was anxiously awaiting news about his brother, Alexander, questioned those responsible

    "If there was any kind of things wrong with that building, like maybe it was an old, dilapidated building or something like that, why would somebody have a rave there?" he asked. "And if the rave was there, and it was an underground rave, why did the cops let it happen?"

    Oakland property records indicate that the warehouse is owned by the Chor N. Ng trust.

    A family member speaking on behalf of Ng said they were "trying to figure out what happened just like everyone else" and were "sorry to hear of [the tragedy] and those injured and killed."

    Multiple complaints have been filed against the property's owner, records show. A Housing Habitability Complaint, involving an illegal interior building structure, was filed as recently as Nov. 14. City officials were in the process of investigating the complaint when the fire broke out.

    A complaint was also filed on Nov. 13 for garbage piling up on the property, some of which was hazardous, records show. There have also been reports of blight at the building.

    On Nov. 17, investigator tried to inspect the building but could not even enter, Ranelletti said.

    However, in its defense, the Ng family said they didn't regularly communicate with the tenants, who had been renting the property for a few years. They also disputed Reed's comments about the makeshift staircase and said it is a full stairway in the back of the building, which was constructed to code.

    A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the area is home to a mixture of Latinos and artists. When the warehouse first caught fire, many said, "Oh, that must be the hippie house."

    It is common knowledge, the neighbor said, that artists lived inside the warehouse and left all sorts of junk — including RVs and odds-and-ends —outside, drawing scavengers. 

    An arson task force is investigating the cause of the fire, but there’s no reason to suspect arson at this time, officials say. "We will be at this crime scene for weeks to come," Kelly said.

    The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and American Red Cross have set up a family assistance center at 2425 E. 12th St. Grief counselors will be on hand. People can call 510-382-3000 for help.

    NBC Bay Area's Liz Wagner contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    An Oakland warehouse was gutted by a three-alarm fire that killed at least nine people. (Dec. 2, 2016)An Oakland warehouse was gutted by a three-alarm fire that killed at least nine people. (Dec. 2, 2016)

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    Fatemah Al-Abed's final message to her Twitter followers Sunday was harrowing and heartbreaking.

    "We are sure the army is capturing us now. We will see each other another day dear world. Bye. — Fatemah."

    Shortly after the post, her Twitter account disappeared, NBC News reporters.

    Al-Abed's dispatches from inside Eastern Aleppo have shocked and captivated readers around the world since she began tweeting from the account on behalf of her 7-year-old daughter, Bana, in September.



    Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP

    In this Sept. 9, 2016, photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria. The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said helicopters dropped crude barrel bombs on the area.In this Sept. 9, 2016, photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, men stand in rubble after airstrikes hit eastern Aleppo, Syria. The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, said helicopters dropped crude barrel bombs on the area.

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    Seven of the 33 victims who died in the Oakland warehouse fire late Friday night were identified Sunday evening by Oakland officials.

    The victims are Donna Kellogg, 32, of Oakland; Cash Askew, 22, of Oakland; David Cline, 35, of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado, Calif.; Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek; Travis Hough, 35, of Oakland; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward.

    The city also knows the identity of an eighth victim, but because that person is 17 and a minor, it would not release that victim's name.

    Kellogg, one of the first to be confirmed, was going to culinary school and worked at a local coffee shop, High Wire Roasters, in Berkeley. Her fellow employees just learned Sunday evening that she was killed in the fire.

    Kellogg was a former resident of Chico who graduated from Chico High. One friend described her as a freewheeling, free-spirited, candid person.

    Wittenauer, better known by his stage name Nex Iuguolo, was an electronic music artist and vocalist for the band Symbiotix Fungi.

    Hough also was a musician. He’s the musical mind behind the Oakland-based electronic band Ghost of Lightning. Hough often went by the stage name Travis Blitzen.

    Askew, another musician, was a member of the Bay Area dream pop band Them Are Us Too.

    Gomez-Hall was an administrative assistant at Counterpoint Press who called himself a decomposer of music.

    Clines was a UC Berkeley graduate, having earned degrees in cognitive science and computer science.

    Hoda's friends on Facebook said she was a teacher, gardener and a hardworking person who loved children.

    The victims' families have been notified. Other names are expected to be released in the coming days. Some of the victims are noncitizens, officials said.

    The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau has asked that the families of people who are still missing "preserve sources of DNA," including combsand toothbrushes, to "prevent future delays" in the identification process. She also asked that such items be stored in clean paper sacks, but not sent to the coroner's bureau. Officials will ask for them, if needed.

    The death toll in the warehouse fire is expected to rise, but it will be days before recovery crews can access the entire structure, officials said. As of Sunday evening, they had made it through 35-40 percent of the building.


    Seven identified victims: Top row from left, Brandon Wittenauer, Chase Askew, David Cline, Donna Kellogg. Bottom row from left, Nick Gomez-Hall, Sara Hoda, Travis Hough.Seven identified victims: Top row from left, Brandon Wittenauer, Chase Askew, David Cline, Donna Kellogg. Bottom row from left, Nick Gomez-Hall, Sara Hoda, Travis Hough.

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