Oakland, California- At least 24 people have been killed in a fire at warehouse on Saturday night and authorities said many more bodies may be recovered from the debris.

“We have located 24 deceased victims of this fire,” Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said. “We anticipate that the number of victims will rise.” The fire began on Saturday night during a party in the two-story building. The number of victims is already one of the highest in decades in building fire in the United States.

Only 20 percent of the destroyed buildings has been searched for remains so far, fire officials said. A total of 35 people have been declared missing.

The revelers were mostly choked to death by thick black smoke, which poured from the building, authorities said.

The structure had been under investigation by fire officials. It had only two exits and the two floors were only joined by a single wooden staircase, making escape difficult. It also had a permit only to be used as a warehouse and not as residence or for social gatherings.

“We know that there are bodies in there that we cannot get to, that have been seen but have not been recovered,” Sergeant Kelly told a press conference.

Source: Qatar News Agency