<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usSun, 04 Dec 2016 06:43:25 -0800Sun, 04 Dec 2016 06:43:25 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Football Player Accused of Sexual Assault Released]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:05:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0820-2014-DeLaSalle.jpg

A 15-year-old football player at Concord's De La Salle High School who was accused of sexually assaulting a female student from neighboring Carondelet High School has been released from custody, a prosecutor said.

But despite his release from juvenile hall, a Contra Costa County deputy District Attorney Jean Skilling told NBC Bay Area on Friday that the case is still being investigated.

The reported sexual assault happened on the De La Salle campus, a Catholic school recognized for its storied football program, after a varsity football game on Nov. 18, the Concord Police Department said. Police were notified of the report three days later and arrested the student-athlete Tuesday night.

The suspect was a member of the school's freshman football squad this fall. The victim has also been identified as a freshman.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Kyle Colvin at 925-603-5856. Those wishing to remain anonymous call can 925-603-5836.

Photo Credit: Ian Cull]]>
<![CDATA[Families, Friends Take to Facebook to Search For Missing]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:11:57 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakfire5.jpg

Loved ones of those unaccounted for in the massive Oakland warehouse fire that broke out Friday night took to Facebook Saturday morning to search for them.

Those who knew the nine killed in the fire, posted condolence messages, some from as far away as New Orleans and Montreal.

According to an event page created on Facebook, Los Angeles-based Golden Donna was scheduled to perform at a party the warehouse on 1305 31st Ave. in Oakland, as part of the 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour from 9 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday.

Oakland Fire spokesperson Johanna Watson said at a press conference the party was attended by young people, most of them in their twenties. Attendees included people from outside the United States. Officials made a plea to the public to remember any distinguising features about those missing, such as a tattoo, that would help to identify them.

The fire broke out at 11:24 p.m., Alameda County fire officials said, adding that it’s estimated dozens were still inside the building when it was engulfed in flames.

On the event Facebook page, people were leaving messages asking about the safety of those missing, as well as notes for those who had lost their lives.

"I'm so sorry to those that lost their lives," Linda Parrett Ryan wrote. "Condolences to their family and friends. This is heart breaking."

San Francisco resident David Marks created a Google document list with names of people still missing.

“PLEASE comment if you know 100% if any of these people are safe,” he wrote. “If you DONT see a name here you KNOW to be missing tell us please. And please only comment here if you know something for sure.”

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A Fire in Oakland Safety Check page has also been created so those who were in the area could also make themselves safe. 

Facebook user Sam Machado wrote that her cousin Madison Machado had attended the party last night, but had yet to let them know she was safe.

“We are the parents of Joey (Joseph) Matlock aka Joey Casio. We were just alerted to this tragedy and that Joey's name is on the missing person list. If anyone has any information about Joey, please contact us. Praying...,” wrote Kathe and John Matloc.

“Prayers for the lost prayers for the survivors,” wrote Nathan Nelson

“Hopes and prayers out for those missing... and also for all the families and friends worried about loved ones... This is awful news, I hope you all can find some solace in these dark times,” wrote Lucas Seymour-Willey

Oakland police said anyone trying to get information about people missing in the fire should contact the Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Bureau at 510-382-3000.

On social media, people referred to the building as the “Oakland Ghost Ship,” an artist's conclave. According to the Oakland Ghost Ship website, the building is home to Max Ohr’s Deeper Magic Tattoo Studio. 

The building's name has nothing to do with the San Francisco Halloween Ghost Ship party, organizers for that event said.

City of Oakland property records show multiple complaints have been filed against the property's owner, one most recently as Nov. 14 for "housing habitability," involving an illegal interior building structure. City officials were in the process of investigating the complaint when the fire broke out.

A complaint was filed on Nov. 13 for garbage piling up on the property, as well as trash left on the sidewalk, some of which was reportedly hazardous. Records show previous complaints for blight on property as well. 

Property records indicated the building is owned by a trust managed by Chor N. Ng of Oakland.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office has set up a family assistance center at 2425 E. 12th Street. People can call (510)-382-3000 for help.[[404490006, C]]

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Inside the 'Oakland Ghost Ship' Warehouse Building]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:53:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland-ghostship1.jpg Images from inside the warehouse commonly referred to as the "Oakland Ghost Ship" that was the site one of the deadliest fires in Oakland history.

Photo Credit: OaklandGhostShip.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pope Calls for Tolerance, Loving Gestures, in Final Mass]]> Sun, 27 Sep 2015 15:05:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-490326864.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in the heart of Philadelphia to watch as Pope Francis culminates his historic visit to the United States by celebrating Mass and talking once again about the importance of the family — the theme of the World Meeting of Families event that brought him to the country for the first time.

Francis used the Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia to stress tolerance, patience and the acceptance of others.

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"To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group,' who are not 'like us,' is a dangerous temptation," he said in a homily. "Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith."

According to an "unofficial estimate" by people working the event, a crowd of 860,000 started making its way to security lines early in the day for a chance to get to see His Holiness up close. Even more watched on about 40 large TV screens that were set up in the city. Most of those screens were located about 25 blocks away from the Mass location.

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Francis told the pilgrims that "our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions."

On family, he said love is shown by small daily signs which make people feel at home, and that faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love.

"That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches," he said. "They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith."

He added: "Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil -- a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work -- will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong."

Toward the end of his homily, he asked the audience a simple question.

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"In my own home, do we shout? Or do we speak to each other in love and tenderness? That is a good way of measuring our love."

At the end of the Mass, Francis had one final message to those in attendance.

"Thank you very much for your participation and your love for the family," he said in English. "And I ask you to pray for me. Don't forget."

The Mass ends Francis' whirlwind six-day U.S. trip in which he has visited the White House, addressed a joint session of Congress, participated in a multi-religious service at Ground Zero, addressed world leaders at the United Nation's General Assembly and met privately with victims of clergy sex abuse at a seminary just outside of Philadelphia. The pontiff, who is known as the people's pope for his outward display of humility, also met with the homeless at a shelter and inmates at a jail.

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The City of Brotherly Love opened its doors this weekend not only for Francis (Archbishop Charles Chaput even joked about renaming the city "Francisville"), but to the thousands of people who arrived in the city to catch a glimpse of him at one of his many city-wide events.

Among those in attendance at the final Mass was 61-year-old Junior Isaac, who arrived in Philadelphia without tickets.

"I wanted to be part of history," said Isaac, who was wearing a U.S. Army hat. "I came all the way from Rhode Island without tickets. Within two hours I had four. I think God is a miracle and a feast.”

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Latonya Williams, a childcare provider from Philadelphia, attended the event with her three children.

“I think he’s the best," Williams said of Francis. "I love his humble spirit. I wasn’t that interested in the other popes, and I’m not Catholic."

A Grand Arrival

The "Popemobile," a white Jeep Wrangler, began carrying Francis toward the alter at about 3:15 p.m. to the roars of scores of people lining the streets of Philly. His motorcade stopped briefly to view the "Knotted Grotto," a public art installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Grotto is a place anyone can go, write their intentions down, and tie them onto one side of the courtyard fence to be "undone" by another person. People leaving intentions tie their own and then untie someone else's to move it to the other side in homage to Francis' favorite image of the Blessed Mother as Mary Undoer of Knots.

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Some 500 students from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, boarded buses Saturday night for their pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families event.

The students, part of the university's campus ministry group, arrived in Philadelphia around 7 a.m.

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"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Nicole Steiner, 19, a sophomore originally from Massachusetts. "It's cool we're able to see him in our own country. He's an inspiring figure."

The students will board buses back to Notre Dame Sunday night.

Courtney Morin, 19, also a sophomore, said she's excited to be part of something so big.

"He's such a huge figure in the world," said Morin, who is from Indiana. "For me, it's being part of a moment when so many things can happen."

The two young woman and several other students from Notre Dame stopped to pose for a photo at Philly's iconic LOVE sculpture before heading to the Parkway to find a spot to watch the Mass. They have tickets to get into the closer areas, they said.

Students from Notre Dame have been following the pope's movement throughout his historic visit to the United States.

"We had papal pancakes Thursday to watch his address to Congress," Morin said.

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A flock of Father Thien Nguyen's pilgrims donned bright yellow shirts and waited eagerly in front of a Jumbotron outside Philadelphia's City Hall on Sunday morning.

Nguyen said the group of about 150 people from the Vietnamese Catholic community in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Canada traveled to Philly for Francis' public Mass. Nguyen heard confession from a woman as many of his older pilgrims hunked down by the bigscreen to watch the Mass.

"This group decided to stay here near the screen, food and bathrooms because they're older," Nguyen explained. "One group had tickets and went all the way up (the Parkway)."

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Nguyen said the Vietnamese faithful love the pope because of his care for the poor and the way he "represents Christ in the world."

The group celebrated a Vietnamese Mass Sunday morning before the papal service later, he said.

"We pray the pope will continue to be a great leader," Nguyen said. "We love the pope."

Up Next

After the Mass the Pope will travel back to Rome. His exit also means the World Meeting of Families ends. It was announced at the Mass that the next chapter in the religious event will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2018.

Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ferguson Grand Jury Records Not Approved for Release]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:37:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/459432416.jpg The prosecutor overseeing the Ferguson grand jury hearing the Michael Brown case took the rare step of recording and documenting the proceedings, but that doesn't mean they will be released to the public if police officer Darren Wilson isn't indicted, officials said Sunday, NBC News reported. The St. Louis County director of judicial administration, Paul Fox, released a statement Sunday saying that St. Louis Judge Carolyn Whittington has to analyze the records before she approves that they be released, and Whittington can't do that until the grand jury has finished hearing evidence. The grand jury's decision on whether to indict Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Brown in August, could come this week.
Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family, Friends Search for Loved Ones Missing After Fire]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:28:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MissingCollage.jpg

As rescue crews and authorities continue to sift through the wreckage from a deadly Oakland warehouse fire, family members and friends wait anxiously to find out the fate of their missing loved ones.

At least nine people died and 25 others remain unaccounted for after flames broke out late Friday inside the "Ghost Ship" warehouse located in East Oakland, according to officials.

Below is a confirmed list of missing persons, according to family members or friends.

Alex Vega. Vega was attending a music event at the "Ghost Ship" building with Michela Angelina Gregory, his girlfriend, according to Daniel Vega, Alex Vega's older brother.

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Michela Angelina Gregory. Gregory was inside the "Ghost Ship" building attending a music event with Alex Vega, her boyfriend, according to Daniel Vega.

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Pete Wadsworth. Wadsworth reportedly lives on the first floor of the "Ghost Ship" building, according to a friend.

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Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye. Tanouye was reportedly doing nail art inside the "Ghost Ship" building when the fire ignited, according to a friend.

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Ara Jo. Jo was believed to have been inside the "Ghost Ship" building when the blaze broke out, according to her family. Having not received any information about her location, Jo's family is struggling to remain hopeful.

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Alex Frantz Ghassan. Ghassan, a budding director, posted a video to his Instagram account of what appears to be a cluttered room inside of the "Ghost Ship" building before flames ripped through the structure. Comments on the post are clamoring for Ghassan to let people know that he is OK, but he has not responded.

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The Daily Californian reported Saturday that three University of California, Berkeley students and an alumnus were among those missing. University officials were unable to confirm that report.

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<![CDATA[RAW: Video Shows Oakland Warehouse Building Engulfed in Flames]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:24:18 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DARINVIDEO1_1200x675_824263235925.jpg

Video shot by Oakland resident Darin Marshall shows the scene of the deadly fire late Friday night.

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<![CDATA[Taliban: We Found Bergdahl Alone, Cursing Countrymen]]> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 15:52:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP185958732321.jpg Two former Taliban commanders told NBC News on Thursday that Bowe Bergdahl was walking alone and cursing his countrymen when the Taliban found and captured him in Afghanistan in 2009. “Our people at the time couldn’t understand his language, but it was after he was shifted to a safe location, he said he wasn’t happy with his countrymen, but he didn’t intend to convert to Islam or join mujahideen (holy warriors),” one of the commanders said. The commanders said that through 2010, he had not converted to Islam. Bergdahl's release has drawn outrage from some, especially Republicans, who say the Obama administration might have broken the law by failing to notify congress before it traded five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bergdahl.
Get More at NBCNews

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Oakland Warehouse Building Engulfed in Flames]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 21:32:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/darinoakland17.jpg ]]> <![CDATA['Unimaginable Grief': Vigil Held for Oakland Fire Victims]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:07:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1203-2016-OaklandVigil.jpg

People late Saturday gathered to remember the victims of a devastating fire that gutted a warehouse in Oakland.

Officials said at least nine people were killed in the fire, with 25 others still unaccounted for.

The Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland held a vigil, with many friends and family members of those still missing attending the service.

Friends and family are on edge, waiting for updates on their loved ones.

"They were amazing and I'm sorry for everyone's loss," said Genevieve Griesau, who reported four of her friends were still missing after the fire. "It's mind blowing, heartbreaking."

Shayne Keator from Oakland echoed a similar sentiment.

"It's tragedy," he said. "A lot of young people just going out to have a good time and wrong place at the wrong time."

A pastor during the vigil service offered words of encouragement.

"When something so tragic hits so close to home...unimaginable grief," said Robert Berger, an Oakland resident who attended the vigil. "The least we could do is be here and show our love and support. Our hearts ache."

Chapel of the Chimes will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Sunday to allow anyone affected by the fire.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Gaza Cease-Fire Holds as Peace Talks Re-Open in Cairo]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 02:12:21 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP654242583915.jpg An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo, The Associated Press reported. In Cairo, negotiators talks resumed at 11 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) Monday as people bought fuel for generators and communication workers struggled to fix cables damaged by the fighting. The truce took effect just after midnight (5 p.m. ET), preceded by heavy rocket fire toward Israel. The monthlong war has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, the majority civilians. In Israel, 67 people have been killed, all but three of them soldiers.
Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Strong: Bay Area Sports Teams Support Fire Victims]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 20:47:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/2016-12-03-oakland-fire-ariel-nava5.jpg

Paying tribute to the victims of the Oakland warehouse fire that killed at least nine people, Bay Area-based sports teams are jumping in to console and help strengthen the city of Oakland.

Working in partnership, the Oakland Athletics and Oakland Raiders will match and donate relief funds up to $30,000. The fundraising campaign had raised more than $30,000 as of Saturday evening, and that number continues to swell.

Next door at Oracle Arena, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr offered his sympathy while speaking to the media before a home game against the Phoenix Suns.

"I want to start out today by offering our condolences to the victims of the Oakland fire," Kerr said before even being answered a question during the press conference. "Just a devastating tragedy right here in the East Bay. It's hard to comprehend. As an organization, we just want to send out our thoughts and prayers to the victims, their families, their friends and people that were injured. I know it can't cure the pain, but we're thinking of you and the whole organization, the team and everybody at Oracle (Arena) tonight when we have a moment of silence. We're all with you out there and we're all devastated."

Aside from promising to sign a $50,000 relief check, the Bay Area's only basketball franchise encouraged fans to donate to those impacted by the deadly blaze. The Warriors also announced that donations gathered during the team's Saturday night raffle will benefit The Unity Council, an Oakland-based nonprofit organization that strives to lift up low-income neighborhoods. Those funds will specifically be used to back development programs in the Fruitvale neighborhood, which is where the three-alarm blaze ignited late Friday.

Across the Bay Bridge, the San Francisco Giants organization took to Twitter and voiced compassion for every party impacted by the fire. The baseball franchise announced that it will side with its rival during this time as well as encourage people to donate to the various relief efforts.

The San Francisco 49ers followed suit by issuing thoughts and prayers to the victims while using the #BayAreaUnite hashtag.

Photo Credit: Ari Nava
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<![CDATA[3 Artists from LA-Based Label Performed at Oakland Warehouse]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 00:13:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/New_Video_Shows_Moments_Before_Warehouse_Party_Fire_1200x675_824262723791.jpg

Three artists under the 100% Silk electronic record label were performing at the warehouse that caught fire and killed at least nine in Oakland late Friday night. Two of the artists remain unaccounted for, according to representatives for the record label.

"It's unbelievable. It's a nightmare." said Brian Foote, an electronic musician who works with the record label in LA, and is waiting for word from the Bay Area. "It feels awful, it feels so helpless and confusing and just so sudden."

"I don't know who was there, there's a chance there was a bunch of people whom I know who was there," a devastated Foote said.

A Facebook event page for Golden Donna 100% Silk West Coast Tour shows the group was scheduled to perform at a party at the warehouse on 1305 31st Ave. in Oakland from 9 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday.

Golden Donna - one of the headliners - is an electronic outlet based out of Madison, and the stage name for Wisconsin-based producer Joel Shanahan, who was scheduled to perform along with the artists Cherushii (Chelsea Faith Dolan) and Nackt (Johnny Igaz).

Foote said Cherushii and Nackt were still missing as of late Saturday night.

“Joel is safe but like many people he is heartbroken and has several friends among the missing. Please refrain from messaging this page or Joel's personal channels unless you have information on the Oakland fire victims. Sending love to everyone affected by this horrific event,” the Golden Donna Facebook page posted Saturday.

The three owners of the record label live in Los Angeles. [[404529556, C]]

Britt Brown, co-owner and founder of 100% Silk, said Shanahan told him how smoke quickly blocked the entrance, and the exit to the Oakland "Ghost Ship" warehouse.

"He just said instantly before his cigarette was done people started yelling fire and the corridor was so smokey," Brown said. "It was just kind of immediately the one place you needed to get through was already so much smoke it was hard to breath and that's what made it so extra frantic."

Brown said he had no involvement with the event in Oakland. Brown said 100% Silk is not a booking agency and never has been one. Brown said he heard about the event through friends and performers beforehand.

He added it's typical for small tours to come together like this. "It's not a rave, it's an electronic music event," he said. "It's typical of small events to be usually under 100 people."

"This is the saddest day Amanda and I have ever had in as long as we've worked in music," he said. "Several of the people were intimate friends of ours who we loved on a personal and creative level. this is beyond a nightmare, it's so unthinkable."

Amanda Brown is the other co-owner and founder of 100% Silk.

In a Facebook post, the couple said: "What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario. Britt and I are beside ourselves, utterly devastated. We are a very tight community of artists and we are all praying, sending love and condolences to everyone involved and their families."

“Thank you for everyone who's been reaching out, we are hoping so hard for the best. We will be posting here on how you can help, and any information as it comes to us."

In an interview with the Red Bull Music Academy in 2012, Amanda talks about the underground music scene, the LA Times reported:

“The underground is obviously overlooked from a mainstream perspective,” she said. “But within the underground, dance is just now finally being given the floor, the opportunity to excite people who would normally mock it for not being ‘weird’ or ‘outsider’ enough. I wanted to help propel underground dance because I feel like we’re on the brink of another golden era.”

The label was also in the 2013 documentary Silk: The Film.

According to the 100% Silk website, Silk “chronicles the performances, environments, and scenes they passed through: congested underground Parisian clubs, motorcycle showrooms in Bristol, abandoned industrial lots in Moscow, afterhours Berlin compounds, re-purposed World War II gun towers in Hamburg, plus large international festivals” in cities such as Copenhagen and Barcelona.

For more information on those missing, call the official family support number at (510)-382-3000.

<![CDATA[Missing Man's Family Seeking 'Little Bit of Hope' After Fire]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:27:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Alex+Vega+and+Michaela.jpg

A riot of emotions flickered across Daniel Vega's face as he waited outside a hospital on Saturday for news about his baby brother.

Alexander Vega and his girlfriend, Michela Angelina Gregory, were at a Friday electronic music festival at the "Ghost Ship" warehouse in Oakland. But the night of revelry turned deadly when a three-alarm fire scorched the building, killing at least nine people and leaving dozens others unaccounted for.

Daniel Vega was at work and decided to hop on Facebook during his break Saturday morning. That's when he stumbled across an NBC article about a “massive fire” at an Oakland warehouse party.

“Immediately, my heart sank because I know my little brother and his girlfriend like to go to raves in Oakland and San Francisco,” Vega said. “And so I immediately called him and it went straight to voicemail, which is very odd because normally his phone is charged in some capacity.”

Vega tried calling his 22-year-old brother a second time. Again, no reply.

So he tried their mother and asked, “Mom, where’s my little brother?” She replied that her youngest son was neither at home nor answering his phone. So the Vega men’s mother began “driving around to his friends’ houses looking for him.”

Alexander Vega didn’t turn up, so Daniel Vega began searching too.

Standing with his wife and cousins outside Highland Hospital a while later, Vega said that police officers and people with the Red Cross were staying tight-lipped.

“I’m just infuriated that I can’t go over there,” he said. “Like, you know, I have my work boots on. Man, I’m ready to roll.”

When asked if he wanted to sift through debris at what police have described as an unstable building, Daniel Vega didn’t hesitate. “Hell yeah, I do,” he responded.

Reflecting on their childhood, Daniel Vega said he was 14 years old when Alexander Vega was born. So as a high schooler, he babysat his infant brother.

As they grew older, both men bonded over a shared interest in cars and music.

Starting to say that his brother was in the prime of his life, Daniel Vega teared up.

“I don’t even want to say ‘was,’ but you know what I mean,” he choked out. “He is in the prime of his life. … He’s got plenty of life left ahead of him.”

Vega described his brother as a “tough guy,” but admitted that it’s “major damage” when a roof’s building lands on its second floor, which then plunges to the first floor.

“That doesn’t sound like something you could just jump out of,” he said.

Aware that it’s not possible to control fires, Vega tried not to speculate. But some questions felt pressing.

“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?” Vega wondered. “And if the rave was there, and it was an underground rave, why did the cops let it happen? … Why didn’t the cops break it up?”

Fire officials have struggled to shore up the warehouse on the 1300 block of 31st Avenue. So far, they have recovered four bodies, but “expect the death toll” to increase. The county coroner is prepared for up to 40 deaths, said Alameda County sheriff’s officials, who estimate that it could take up to two days before all the victims are identified.

In the meantime, Vega remains rooted in fear and concern about his brother.

“If my brother is there I want to find him,” he said. "I need closure. Obviously I want to hold on to a little bit of hope, but I just don’t know.”

Photo Credit: Daniel Vega]]>
<![CDATA[California Officials React to Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire ]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:44:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/brown-fire.jpg

Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials issued statements of condolences Saturday after a warehouse fire in Oakland, California, left at least nine people dead, with the possibility of the death toll rising to 40.

Brown, the former mayor of Oakland, said in a statement that he and his wife, Anne, were saddened to hear about the deadly blaze.

In the statement Saturday he said: "Our thoughts are with the entire city in this difficult time and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of those lost."

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom also took to Twitter to send his thoughts to the Oakland community and thank first responders for "risking their lives to save others."

State Attorney General and U.S. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris also tweeted her reaction Saturday, saying, "Sending strength and prayers to Oakland for those lost and suffering. A terrible, terrible tragedy."

State Assemblyman Rob Bonta issued a statement via Facebook and tweeted it. Bonta, who represents the 18th district, which includes Oakland, offered his condolences to the victims and their families.

"As a strong Oakland community, I know we will come together to help and console our friends and neighbors," Bonta said in the statement. "My office stands ready to help in any way. I ask everyone to take a moment in your own way to remember these victims and support their families."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a separate statement calling the fire "an immense tragedy."

Authorities say they fear up to 40 people might have died in the fire at a warehouse converted into artist studios that was hosting an electronic dance party.

Rescue crews were combing through wreckage and still trying to access parts of the warehouse Saturday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images file/NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Missing Jet Families Seek $5M Reward for Answers]]> Sun, 08 Jun 2014 07:09:13 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP7372611894241.jpg Relatives of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia jet said Sunday that they are seeking to raise $5 million for a reward and private investigation leading to discovery of what happened to the plane and the 239 people on board, NBC News reported. The Reward MH370 project aims “to encourage a whistle blower to come forward” with information about the jet’s fate, a statement issued by five family members said. Project leader Ethan Hunt said effort was being launched via fundraising website indiegogo.com.
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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[City Official Addresses People Living in Structure Illegally]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:18:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000020069401_1200x675_824156739539.jpg Darin Ranelletti, intierim director of Oakland's planning and building department, answers questions about whether there were people living illegally in the structure where a fire left nine dead and 25 missing.]]> <![CDATA[How to Help Oakland Fire Victims]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:27:52 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakfire11.jpg

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.

<![CDATA[Oakland Fire Survivor Thankful to Be Alive]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 16:41:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bob+mule.jpg

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]]>
<![CDATA[Cirque du Soleil Performers Return to SF Spotlight]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:17:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cirque-sm.jpg

Cirque du Soleil performers will return to the stage Saturday night four days after a company technician died before a scheduled performance at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Oliver Rochette, who was later identified as the son of one of Cirque du Soleil's founders, died Tuesday night during set-up of the company's show "Luzia," marking the third time since 2009 that an emloyee affiliated with the worldwide acrobatic show died on the job.

Following the fatality, Cirque du Soleil cancelled multiple shows scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. A performance scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday was also cancelled, but the 8 p.m. show is a go, the company announced Saturday.

"Cirque du Soleil wishes to thank fans, friends, family members, the San Francisco community and the entire Cirque du Soleil family from around the world for their love and support through these difficult times," the company wrote in statement.

Rochette was struck by a lift about 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday at the AT&T Park show in Lot A at Mission Rock and Third Street. He was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. He died later.

Cal-OSHA has six months to investigate the death. Cal-OSHA's investigation consists of checks and tests on safety equipment and work equipment as well as ensuring workplace conditions met all safety standards.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration records, Cirque du Soleil has four violations, including one death, cited in the last five years within the United States.

The most notable was on June 29, 2013, when Sarah Guillot-Guyard died during a show in Las Vegas. She had fallen 94 feet in front of spectators after the wire attached to her safety harness shredded during the production of "Ka." She was the second death during a Cirque show.

The first person to die on Cirque's watch was in 2009, the Guardian reported, when Ukrainian acrobat Oleksandr Zhurov, 24, died during a Montreal, Quebec rehearsal.

And just three days ago in Brisbane, Australia, acrobat Lisa Skinner was hospitalized, when she lost her grip on a ring during a "Kooza" performance, according to Courier Mail.

The other U.S. violations OSHA has on record occurred in Florida in October, and two others in Nevada, in 2013 and 2014.

Cirque du Soleil had zero violations in California over the last five years, according to OSHA records.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Rips Through Oakland Warehouse, Killing 9]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:38:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oaklandfireI.jpg 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]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Deployed to Aid in Aftermath of Deadly Oakland Fire]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 13:14:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakfire14.jpg Crews deployed a drone Saturday in Oakland to aid in the aftermath of a fire that left at least nine dead and 25 missing at a mixed-use building in the Fruitvale district.]]> <![CDATA[Oakland Venue Was Under Investigation Before Deadly Fire]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:42:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1203-2016-ACSOFire.jpg

The scene of a late-night dance party in Oakland that went up in flames late Friday was already under investigation for structural deficiencies before the fire claimed the lives of at least nine people overnight, according to records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.

The Oakland Planning and Building Department launched an investigation into the habitability of the warehouse less than a month ago, citing an “illegal interior building structure.”

Following Friday’s fire, Oakland launched a new investigation into the warehouse, again citing a “housing habitability complaint.”

Property records show the warehouse is owned by a trust created by Chor N Ng. Records show Ng, either individually or through the trust, also owns more than a dozen other buildings in Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

A family member speaking on behalf of the owner told the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit they were "trying to figure out what happened just like everyone else."

New city records, obtained by the Investigative Unit, cite accounts from fire fighters who said “some victims may have been trapped in Friday’s fire since they couldn’t escape down a makeshift, one-way stairwell leading to the second floor that was built out of wooden pallets.”

In defense of the owner, the family member said the stairway is not made of wood pallets, is built to code and is a full stairway in the back of the building inside.

Records also show the warehouse and surrounding area have been the subject of nearly 10 blight complaints over the past decade.

A website for the warehouse, which refers to the venue as the ‘Oakland Ghost Ship,’ posts several dozen photos of the interior. The structure, which also featured a work space for artists, appears to be filled with large pieces of wooden furniture and vintage decorations.

“I was just able to get in about 10 feet,” said Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed. “I couldn’t really get past that point. The roof has collapsed so there is a lot of timber and heavy wood and stuff that’s in there.”

Reed, speaking to reporters early Saturday morning, described the fire as the worst Oakland has seen at least since the Oakland Hills fire 25 years ago that claimed 25 lives.

In examining the scene of this latest fire, Reed said she noticed two fire extinguishers inside the warehouse, but doesn’t believe the facility was equipped with working smoke detectors since victims did not remember hearing any alarms during the fire.

“There’s still a lot of the building that needs to be searched,” Reed said. “I pray our fatality count doesn’t go up, but I believe there is a potential for it to.”

Photo Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Fire Rips Through Converted Warehouse in Oakland]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:28:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2016-12-03-oakland-fire-8.jpg

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[RAW VIDEO: Oakland Warehouse Fire Leaves at Least 9 Dead]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 11:01:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000020066837_1200x675_824055363705.jpg 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.]]> <![CDATA[Professor Stabbed to Death at USC]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 03:04:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bosco-tjan-120216.png

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. A student was arrested in connection with the death, officials said. He was identified Saturday morning as 28-year-old David Jonathan Brown of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police 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: USC]]>
<![CDATA[Thumbs Up! Buzz Aldrin Gets Surprise Visit in Hospital]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:27:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/buzz+aldrin+astronauta.jpg

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.

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
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<![CDATA[NYC Man Steals Bus to Go for a Joyride (Again)]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:31:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mta+bus+ridership.jpg

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. 

<![CDATA[Deadly Fire Kills 9 at Oakland Warehouse]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 22:04:13 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2016-12-03-oakland-fire.jpg

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 held 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
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<![CDATA[Sandy Hook Group Begins Violence Warning-Signs Campaign ]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 07:09:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sandyhookmemorialIII.jpg

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]]>
<![CDATA[Sarah Palin Warns of ‘Crony Capitalism’ After Trump Deal ]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:22:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/el-factor-palin.jpg

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]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Want PUC Corruption Probe Revived]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:02:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/san+bruno+explosion.jpg

Lawmakers on Friday urged California’s incoming attorney general to revive an apparently stalled two-year-old corruption probe into possible backroom deals between utilities and state regulators.

The three officials who lobbied for the the corruption probe back in September 2014 — State Senator Jerry Hill, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane — wrote a letter Friday urging Governor Jerry Brown’s replacement for Kamala Harris, Xavier Becerra, to press the effort.

The probe began after emails disclosed following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion showed cozy dealings between regulators – exposing apparent judge-shopping by PG&E in a key regulatory case arising out of the disaster that left eight dead.

“We’re told the investigation is alive and well and it’s continuing, but we haven’t seen any progress,” said San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson.

She continued: “But we have a new attorney general coming in. Now is a good time to focus attention on this particular investigation and make sure it moves to the top of the pile.”

In January 2015, state agents seized documents and computer records from the San Francisco headquarters of the Public Utilities Commission. The probe began after emails released PG&E raised

State agents also searched the Los Angeles county home of the PUC President Michael Peevey and uncovered evidence of an unrelated secret deal to shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant saddled closing costs on customers. Peevey was soon ousted.

Lawmakers who wrote to Becerra, a former congressman from Los Angeles county legislator and prosecutor, to express concern over the status of the probe.

“It’s essential that a thorough investigation move forward and that all possible criminal charges are vigorously prosecuted,” Hill said in a statement. “A misstep or a delay could impair – or eliminate – the chance to pursue a case.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[George Takei Inducted Into California Hall of Fame]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:50:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP308780160294.jpg

George Takei was inducted into the California Museum's California Hall of Fame during a ceremony Wednesday evening in Sacramento.

Takei — a second-generation Californian best known for his role of Lt. Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek" — joins 96 other individuals, who the California Museum calls "legendary people who embody California's innovative spirit and have made their mark on history," NBC News reported.

He also developed the musical "Allegiance," which was based on his experience in a Japanese-American incarceration camp during World War II.

"To be inducted to join the inspiring trail blazers in the arts, industry, academia, sports and political affairs is an honor beyond words," Takei said in a statement in October.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump's Call With Taiwanese Leader Alarms Political Expert]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:53:13 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Taiwan1.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump is tweeting – and making waves.

On Friday, Trump broke with decades of foreign policy and spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and then talked about it on Twitter – angering Chinese leaders.

But political strategist Jim Ross believes this is Trump’s latest attempt to use Twitter to “drive the news cycle.”

“The president of Taiwan doesn’t just call the President-elect of the United States,” Ross said. “That’s not how diplomacy works. That’s now how the world works.”

News of the unprecedented call and subsequent tweet has reverberated around the world.

“The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” Trump tweeted.

Ross says this was a “very intentional” move to ensure that “the Sunday morning shows will all be about Trump and his diplomacy."

Taiwan and China have been at odds for decades. This, after the United States severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 after recognizing Beijing as China’s sole government.

When trump’s followers reacted to his initial tweet, he roared back on social media saying, “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.”

Political posturing is one thing, but Ross cautioned: “The world is a dangerous place and I think you have to be very careful what you say to world leaders.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Pac 12 Puppies' Up for Adoption]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:27:44 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/PAC+12+PUPPIES.jpg

All Pac 12 football teams received big cheers Friday from four-legged fans.

Eight Pit bull mix puppies and three Chihuahua puppies stole the show at the Pac 12 Puppy Tail-Gate at Great America in Santa Clara.

Each dog wore a bandana representing one of the teams in the Pac 12 football league.

The event kicked off the 2016 Pac-12 Football Championship Game Friday between Colorado and Washington.

The East Bay SPCA helped sponsor the event to raise awareness about shelter animals who need permanent homes.

“It’s important to adopt puppies since we have an extreme population of dogs and cats who don't have homes,” said Jessica Perrin, marketing manager for the East Bay SPCA. “Anyone can get a loving and great dog from a shelter.”

Each puppy at the event is ready for adoption. The Pit bulls are nine weeks old from the same litter, and two are females and seven are males. The Chihuahuas are 12 weeks old.

The dogs can be taken home starting Saturday at the East Bay SPCA Dublin location. The office will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The cost is $165 dollars to adopt each puppy. The price includes all shots, and each puppy has been spayed and neutered.

The SPCA believes each Pit bull is roughly 11 or 12 pounds right now and will grow to 60 or 70 pounds. The Chihuahuas will grow to about four pounds.

To contact the East Bay SPCA, visit the Dublin office at 4651 Gleason Drive or call 925-479-9670.

Photo Credit: Ryann Vargas/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mario Woods' Mother 'So Mad' One Year After His Death]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:57:04 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+MARIO+WOODS+OIS+ANNIVERSARY+PKG+-+00000807.jpg

The mother of Mario Woods, who was fatally shot by San Francisco police, said she is haunted by memories a year after his death.

“I am so mad,” Gwendolyn Woods said on Friday. “I am so mad [at] what they did to him.”

Friday marks the one-year-anniversary of the 26-year-old’s shooting death. It set off protests and calls for reform in the police department, and family members and supporters gathered in San Francisco to celebrate the life of Mario Woods.

Gwendolyn Woods said the past two weeks have been particularly difficult for her.

“My dad used to say, ‘You have to have hope,’ but mine is a little bit fleeting,” said Woods, who admitted that she put off grieving to keep up the fight for justice.

Woods, 26, was fatally shot on Dec. 2, 2015 in the city's Bayview District by five police officers, after a man reported being stabbed earlier that afternoon in the 6600 block of Third Street.

When officers surrounded him, he refused to drop a knife he was holding and, after using multiple non-lethal weapons on Woods, officers fired at him when he appeared to walk toward the officers, police said.

The shooting generated public outrage after it was captured on video by several bystanders and was widely circulated on social media.

On Friday, more than a dozen protesters gathered inside the entrance to the office of San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. They tried to press Gascon to file charges against the officers involved.

“We want justice,” said Cassandra Grant, with the Mario Woods Coalition. “We’ve been waiting a year. It’s been far too long.”

A group that calls itself Mothers on the March has followed through on a promise made more than a month ago to demonstrate at the office every Friday at noon until Gascon agrees to meet with them to discuss charging officers involved in fatal shootings with murder.

The group is named in honor of the mothers of those who have died during recent officer-involved shootings in San Francisco. The parents of Alex Nieto, who was fatally shot by police in 2014, Elvira and Refugio Nieto, have been actively participating in the demonstrations.

"We're here to support these mothers but this historic day on the anniversary of Mario could not go unaddressed. So were in solidarity with the mothers on the march to tell them that they're not alone," Minister Christopher Muhammad said during the demonstration.

Woods' fatal shooting is one of a handful of fatal shootings that have occurred in recent years. The fatal shootings have put pressure on the police department to make changes, including the resignation of former police Chief Greg Suhr and the appointment of interim police Chief Toney Chaplin.

"Chief Chaplin is not someone who we can look to to stand up to the police officers' association, who has their tentacles wrapped around this [police] department." Muhammad said. "How dare this department think that we can believe that they will transform themselves? There's no history or evidence.

"Whenever this department made reforms it was forced to do it by court order, so we're calling in on the justice department to step in."

Following Woods' shooting, his family filed a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the city in federal court, accusing police of using extreme force.

In response, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office said the shooting was justified as he allegedly told officers they would have to shoot him before he would drop the knife.

An autopsy report later revealed that that Woods had suffered 20 penetrating gunshot wounds, many of them to the back of his body, and one apparent graze from a bullet. Woods also had several large bruises consistent with non-lethal projectiles, the autopsy found.

Additionally, the autopsy also found that Woods had drugs in his system including methamphetamine and amphetamines, marijuana, anti-depressants, cough syrup, nicotine and caffeine.

During Friday's demonstration, District Attorney spokesman Max Szabo said to the demonstrators that while there's no update in any of the officer-involved shooting cases, Gascon has agreed to meet with the Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition sometime next week. Details about the meeting were not immediately available.

Also on Friday, in honor of Woods, dozens of people showed up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in the city's Bayview neighborhood at around 3:30 p.m. From there, they marched down Third Street to Fitzgerald Avenue, to the site where Woods was fatally shot by police.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>