Officials say up to 40 may have perished in Oakland fire

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say arson investigators and other fire experts will comb through the rubble of a fire in Oakland, California, that killed at least nine people.

Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly says the site is not considered a crime scene, but fire investigations must start out looking at worst-case scenarios.

Officials have confirmed nine deaths in the Friday night blaze in a converted warehouse, but they fear as many as 40 may have perished.

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says between 50 and 100 people were believed to be in the building at the time of the fire.

The warehouse had been partitioned into several artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins, lamps, and other objects. Deloche-Reed says the building didn't have a clear exit path and that the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets.