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Hundreds Mourn Oakland Warehouse Fire Victims At Emotional Vigil

People gathered at Lake Merritt to mourn at least 36 people who perished in a fast-moving fire that tore through a warehouse Friday night.

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People gathered at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, on Monday to mourn the dozens of people who died in a massive warehouse fire.

Right now speakers are commemorating individuals. "I basically lost six people," I just heard someone say. Friendsh… https://t.co/m4oUdoFSsC

The late night fire on Friday killed at least 36 people, but the death toll is expected to rise as crews continue their recovery work.

The cause of fire also remained under investigation Monday. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said if criminal charges are eventually filed, they could range from “murder, all the way to involuntary manslaughter.”

The warehouse, located in Fruitvale, has been described as being entirely made out of wood. And on Friday, it was hosting an electronic act called Golden Donna when flames broke out.

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On Monday, a couple of hundred people gathered at Lake Merritt holding candles in honor of those who died.

Community members in Oakland are carrying candles and glow sticks in commemoration of the dozens of people who died… https://t.co/aPl4b4MarN

Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín was applauded when he spoke about making sure artists have safe spaces to live and work.

The mayor of Berkeley is speaking now, the crowd cheered when he said "I want to make sure artists have a safe place to live and to work."

But when Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was introduced, tempers flared and she was met with immediate boos.

Feeling your anger is part of my job, Schaaf says. Government has done painful things. It's my job to acknowledge that.

The reaction comes as many in Oakland feel the focus has been on blaming a venue that was not permitted to be an event space instead of focusing on the victims. The mayor eventually left the stage without making closing remarks.

The crowd is starting to chant as Mayor Schaaf says she wants a conversation about safety. "Go home!" "F*** you!" "Just stop!"

Firefighters also came in uniform to mourn the loss of life.

The Oakland Fire Department is also glowing tonight in support of the victims of the Oakland Fire

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A spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Ray Kelly, told reporters Monday that some of the victims were able to text relatives, including “I’m going to die,” and “I love you,” before dying.

Some bodies were also found in positions that suggested they were trying to protect each other, he added.

Several people on Monday told BuzzFeed News that the Golden Donna event the night of the fire as more of family gathering than a rave or party.

Relatives of Travis Hough, including cousin Jessica McDonald, second form right, and her partner Gero Zimmermann, at left, hold candles during the vigil.

As people start to head home they're leaving lights and incense behind in memory of the Oakland fire victims

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Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Judy Hough, left, holds a picture of her son Travis who died in a warehouse fire during a vigil at Lake Merritt on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. Family members and friends are being notified as firefighters continue a painstaking search for victims of the Oakland warehouse fire. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

CORRECTION

Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín spoke about making sure artists have safe spaces to live and work. An earlier version of this post misidentified the speaker as being the mayor of Berkeley.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

Caroline O'Donovan is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Caroline O'Donovan at caroline.odonovan@buzzfeed.com.

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