Washington, – The death toll rose to 36 people after a fire during a party destroyed a former warehouse in Oakland, California, local authorities said Monday.

The blaze struck late Friday during a party with live music in the warehouse, which housed an artists’ collective in Oakland on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay.

The death toll had reached 33 on Sunday, with police saying citizens of countries in Europe and Asia were among the dead.

“We absolutely believe that the number will increase,” Melinda Drayton, a battalion chief in the Oakland Fire Department, told reporters early Monday.

She described the blaze as an “extremely hot fire,” with most of the bodies found so far in the centre of the building.

The source of ignition is still under investigation.

” There is no way of telling the cause,” Drayton said.

The warehouse walls were bowing in after the fire, and the investigation and the search for remains of victims were halted overnight Sunday due to concern that the metal girders that held the now burned out roof could collapse, Drayton said.

Source: Qatar News Agency