Young artists, musicians and educators were among the victims of the deadly warehouse fire that broke out in Oakland last weekend, killing several dozen attendees of a party in an art space.
According to Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Tya Modste, 36 bodies had been recovered as of Sunday from the dilapidated, two-story Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship. Eleven had been identified, including a 17-year-old whose name was not released because he was a minor. The fire is considered one of the deadliest in California history.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the teenage victim was Draven McGill, a junior at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and the son of a deputy for the Alameda County sheriff’s office.
In recent years, the Ghost Ship had provided an affordable event space, art studio and even makeshift residence for many members of the Bay Area’s creative community. Electronic music producer Golden Donna had been scheduled to perform at Friday night’s dance party. According to a post on Golden Donna’s Facebook page, the DJ, whose real name is Joel Shanahan, “is safe but like many people he is heartbroken and has several friends among the missing.”
President Obama offered condolences in a statement issued Monday to those affected by “one of the worst fires in the state’s history,” and thanked the first responders who’ve “been working tirelessly for days to contain the situation, recover victims, and treat the wounded.” He promised that his administration would remain “in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure that authorities have everything they need as they continue response operations and investigate the cause of the fire.”
“While we still don’t know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people — including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them — have tragically lost their lives,” read the statement. “Oakland is one of the most diverse and creative cities in our country, and as families and residents pull together in the wake of this awful tragedy, they will have the unwavering support of the American people.”
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Oakland Fire Department reported that 85 percent of the building had been searched and, contrary to earlier predictions, the death toll was not expected to rise above 36. Officials announced Wednesday morning that they’d concluded the search for remains of those killed in the warehouse fire, officially capping the death toll at 36.
Authorities had speculated that a refrigerator may have been the source of the fire, but later ruled out the refrigerator as the cause and are still looking at electrical systems as possible sources for the blaze. This story will be updated as the investigation continues.
Here’s what we know about the victims so far.
Cash Askew, 22
Twenty-two-year-old Cash Askew was a rising star in the Bay Area music scene.
“Everybody just saw this star, just saw this shooting star in her,” Madigan Shive, a musician and childhood friend of Askew’s, told the Los Angeles Times. Shive said that, over the past year or so, Askew had come out as transgender and gender-nonconforming.
A guitarist and DJ, Askew was one half of the goth/dream pop duo Them Are Us Too, whose debut album “Remain” was released last year by Dais Records.
The independent record label responded to the news of Askew’s death on Instagram Sunday with a post declaring, “We will never be the same.”
“Completely devastated by the loss of Cash Askew,” read the statement from Dais Records. “She was one of the most talented and loving people we’ve ever known. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts, along with all those lost in the Oakland tragedy.”
Back in August, writer Beth Winegarner interviewed Askew and her musical partner, Kennedy Ashlyn, for a Bitch.com story on up-and-coming female goth bands. After learning that Askew was among those killed in the Ghost Ship fire, Winegarner posted her full interview with the budding musician on Medium.
In the interview, Askew talked about being drawn to the androgynous aesthetic of new wave and goth music as a young teenager, saying it “gave me a way to explore my gender expression before I could even come to terms with being transgender.”
Nick Gomez-Hall, 25
Nick Gomez-Hall was reportedly two weeks shy of his 26th birthday at the time of the fire. A native of the San Diego County resort town Coronado, friends have described Gomez-Hall as intelligent, athletic and a talented musician.
“Nick was one of those people who was genuinely good at everything and made everything look so easy,” childhood friend Maddie White told CBS 8 San Diego. “But when you met him, you wouldn’t know it because he was so easygoing and humble.”
“It was like no, no, no, anyone but him,” White added. “He’s the best person and the least deserving of this.”
According to the independent local news site Berkeleyside, Gomez-Hall had recently begun doing book design at Counterpoint Press, a bicoastal publishing house based in Berkeley.
A spokesperson for Counterpoint called Gomez-Hall “a talented artist” and told Berkeleyside, “Everyone on staff here in Berkeley, and in Portland and New York, is simply heartbroken.”
Friends have taken to Gomez-Hall’s Facebook page to express their grief over his death.
“Nick you are such a positive influence on my life and everyone else you met,” wrote David Scofield. “You are deeply missed.”
Travis Hough, 35
Like many of the Ghost Ship partygoers, Travis Hough was a musician. But in addition to recording and performing electronic music with his band, Ghosts of Lightning, the 35-year-old also worked at a school in the Bay Area as a creative arts therapist.
“He was a superfun person to be around,” Hough’s manager, Brendan Dreaper, told the L.A. Times. “Travis had his heart open to everything, and I’m at a loss for what to say.”
According to ABC7 Los Angeles, friends said that Hough’s phone stopped working at around 11:30 p.m. Friday, just after he’d sent his girlfriend a text message that read, “baby, there’s a fire.”
Over the weekend, comments on Hough’s Facebook page went from hopeful prayers for his recovery to heartfelt tributes mourning his death.
David Cline, 24
According to his Facebook page, David Cline was a 24-year-old resident of Berkeley, Calif. A University of California Berkeley alumni directory found by the news website Berkeleyside shows that Cline graduated from the school in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in cognitive science and computer science.
Shortly before the city of Oakland released Cline’s name, his brother, Neil Cline, took to Facebook to notify friends and family.
“We just received word that my brother David Cline passed away in the Oakland Fire,” he wrote. “To all of you, thank you. Thank you for your kindness, help and love. To David, we love you. You will be with us always.”
Donna Kellogg, 32
KRON4 News reports that Donna Kellogg, a 32-year-old San Francisco State University graduate, was working at a coffee shop in Berkeley while attending culinary school.
Her ex-boyfriend Joshua Howes told the Bay Area news station that he wasn’t surprised to hear she was attending the warehouse party, as she enjoyed seeing live music in small venues. When asked what he’ll miss the most about Kellogg, Howes said simply, “Her. Just her, you know? Just everything she was and everything she did, her beauty, you know, all of that.”
Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32
Brandon Chase Wittenauer was a 32-year-old Oakland resident and vocalist of the “multi-genre duo” Symbiotix.Fungi, where he performed under the name Nex Iuguolo.
Symbiotix.Fungi’s SoundCloud touts the pair’s ability to “flex from their first album’s orchestral pop into varying styles, including synthpop, dance, rock, metal, dark, and more.” In addition to maintaining SoundCloud accounts as both Nex Iuguolo and Symbiotix.Fungi, Wittenauer also tweeted prolifically under his pseudonym, sharing a mix of anime drawings and his political thoughts. He often lamented the results of the presidential election and spoke out in support of those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.
Sara Hoda, 30
According to the Los Angeles Times, 30-year-old Sara Hoda was a teacher at a Montessori school.
“She was a really sweet person,” friend Carol Crewdson told the Times. “She gardened and taught children how to garden.”
Crewdson, who started a housing collective for traveling artists with Hoda in 2010, used Facebook to solicit and share information about Hoda after she was initially reported missing after the fire.
“Her external beauty was only surpassed by the beauty in her patience, generosity, recognition of joy, value of life and possibility she saw in all peoples from all walks of life,” wrote her friend NIcole Calasich, alongside a photo of Hoda on Instagram late Sunday. “She was easily a better human than most people I know, definitely better than I. I’m convinced that given her faith, she died trying to save others.”
Em Bohlka, 33
Em Bohlka was a poet, photographer, barista and member of the “punky-tonk” band Rope in Hand.
“She was just a completely loving individual, truly a gentle spirit, thoughtful and philosophical,” said father Jack Bohlka in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. The 33-year-old Em, who grew up in Claremont, Calif., as Matt, had begun transitioning to become female earlier this year. She was also one of a growing number of transgender partygoers who have been identified among those killed in the Ghost Ship fire.
“My heart goes out to the entire trans community who feel as if they must gather in unsafe buildings to experience their community and celebrate their identity,” her father wrote in a post on Instagram late Monday. “Our communities must become more open and accepting of all people, all identities, so that everyone can enjoy a great party or concert in a space that is not a death trap.”
Michela Angelina Gregory, 20
According to her Facebook page, Michela Angelina Gregory was working at Urban Outfitters while studying special education at San Francisco State University.
The 20-year-old’s mother, Kimberly Gregory, reportedly confirmed Michela’s death in a Facebook post Monday evening.
“They found Michela clothed with her backpack and ID in it, she was inside the building,” she wrote, according to San Francisco Bay Area news station KRON4. “I’m thinking, hoping she didn’t burn.”
Her friend Lili Reyes told the San Francisco Chronicle that she’d been texting with Michela right before she went to the Ghost Ship event on Friday.
“I just can’t believe this happened to her,” said Reyes. “She was a kindhearted girl with so much life. Everyone she met, she has made such an impact on them.”
Gregory and her boyfriend, Alex Vega, went to the Oakland dance party together Friday evening. Vega, 22, was being reported as missing until early Tuesday morning, when police notified his parents that their son’s body had been identified by the Alameda County coroner’s office.
Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly told reporters earlier this week that, while searching for remains inside the incinerated Ghost Ship warehouse, “we have found people that have died in each other’s arms, protecting each other, holding each other.”
Both Gregory’s and Vega’s parents told the East Bay Times that their sadness is somewhat assuaged by the thought of their children embracing one another as they died.
“There were some folks that were found hugging each other,’’ Michela’s father, David Gregory, said Tuesday. “I believe my daughter and Alex were hugging each other. To the end, they were together, trying to help each other, I’m sure. I know it.”
Edmond Lapine, 34
Edmond Lapine was a musician who came to Oakland from his hometown of Salt Lake City by way of Evergreen State College in Washington.
Calvin Johnson, founder of the Olympia-based music label K Records, where Lapine once interned, told the East Bay Times that he remembered his former employee as a hard worker with a great fashion sense and “an innate feel for music and people.”
A woman named Roxxy Blank identified herself as Lapine’s partner at a vigil for those lost in the warehouse fire Monday night.
“I was lucky enough to date him for a couple of months,” she said in a speech that was posted to YouTube Tuesday. “His insight, emotional intelligence and general intellect just enchanted the shit out of me from the moment I met him.”
Before making his way from Utah to Oakland Tuesday, Lapine’s father, Bob, told SFGate, “I resigned myself to knowing that he died doing what he loved: listening to music.”
Jennifer Morris, 21
Jennifer Morris was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. In a statement released by the East Bay Free Methodist Church, her father, Michael, described his daughter, who went by Jenny, as “a beautiful, intelligent, creative, caring and sincere young lady with a bright future ahead of her” and invited friends and family to share photos, memories and prayers on a private Facebook page created in Jenny’s memory.
“We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support, prayers and love by our family and friends to us during this extremely difficult time,” read the statement from Morris’ father. “We are confident that she is now in the presence of the Lord in heaven and we will see her again someday.”
Morris attended the ill-fated warehouse party with her roommate and fellow UC Berkeley student Vanessa Plotkin, who was still considered missing as of Tuesday.
Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31
Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye wore many hats, including music manager at Shazam, volunteer at an Oakland music store called Issues and pop-up nail artist offering manicures to partygoers at venues around the city. The night of the fire, Tanouye had set up her Underground Nail Bar inside the Ghost Ship warehouse.
“She was a light,” friend Ronnie Casey told the San Jose Mercury News of Tanouye. “To know her was to love her.”
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, longtime friend Anna Bleviss Whitlatch described Tanouye as “a real vibrant person, always smiling and going to concerts and stuff.”
Tanouye’s employer, the popular music identification app Shazam, paid tribute to the “amazing” 31-year-old in a tweet Monday afternoon, writing, “We love you and will never forget you Kiyomi.”
— Shazam (@Shazam) December 5, 2016
Feral Pines, 29
Feral Pines was a musician who grew up in Westport, Conn., and graduated from New York City’s School of Visual Arts in 2010. Her father, Bruce Fritz, told the Hartford Courant that Pines had recently moved to California in search of a community that was “more artistic, more friendly to her interests.” The 29-year-old had reportedly been working odd jobs while planning to start a new band.
“She was a gentle soul, the kind of person who never had a bad word to say about anyone,” said Fritz. “She was someone you wanted to put your arms around and not let go.”
The SFGate website in San Francisco reports that Pines, born Justin Riley Fritz, told her parents after high school graduation in 2005 that she wanted to be called “Riley.” She’d more recently begun going by the name Feral Pines.
“She identified as a woman, and I considered her my sister and always will,” stepbrother Ben Fritz told SFGate. “As is true of all trans people, life was hard for her, but she was very brave in following a path that is true to herself.”
Ben, who lives in Los Angeles, said, “When I saw her at Thanksgiving, she was the happiest I had seen her in a while.”
Scout Wolfcave, a transgender activist who described Pines as “my best friend” and “the best person you have ever met,” told the Daily Courant that “for many of her trans community, Feral was a guide and sister in a world of small joys and terrible precarity for trans women.”
Micah Danemayer, 28
Micah Danemayer, a 28-year-old musician from Massachusetts, had been performing at the Ghost Ship on Friday night before the warehouse became engulfed in flames.
“In the words of a friend, he was ‘a wonderful charming eccentric beauty of a young man,’ whose open heart drew many, many other free spirits to him,” Danemayer’s parents told SFGate via email. “We were lucky to have him for 28 years. We will miss him and the weirdness and creativity and love that trailed in his wake.”
According to his Facebook profile, Danemayer was a curator and producer at Obscura Machina, an experimental music and video art collective. His girlfriend, a graduate student at UC Merced who has been named as both Jennifer Mendiola and Alana Kane, was with Danemayer at the Ghost Ship party on Friday and, as of Tuesday, was still among the missing.
Alex Ghassan, 35
New Jersey native Alex Ghassan was a filmmaker and father of 4-year-old twin girls. He’d recently relocated to Oakland and was engaged to a woman named Hanna.
“He has so much to live for,” Ghassan’s mother, Emilie Grandchamps told NBC 4 New York on Sunday, before she received confirmation that her son’s body had been identified. “Alex had a lot to live for, not to die for.”
Ghassan, 35, was reportedly at Friday’s warehouse party with his fiancée, who has not been heard from since the fire.
A video posted to Ghassan’s instagram account at around 10:30 p.m. Friday appears to offer a glimpse inside the Ghost Ship party before it went up in flames.
Ben Runnels, 32
Known to many by his stage name, Charlie Prowler, 32-year-old Ben Runnels was a versatile musician who could be heard around Oakland singing standards at a local jazz bar, producing electronic music at dance parties and, most recently, performing as the lead singer of the synthpop duo Introflirt.
“He was one of those people who could pick up any instrument,” sister Erin Runnels told SFGate. “It would be really rare that a song, whether it was Glenn Miller or the Grateful Dead or some obscure European house music, would come on without him being able to tell you something about it.”
Runnels was originally from Mariaville, a tiny community in upstate New York. In Oakland, he supported his music career with landscaping work. Runnels’ mother, Lorrie Benjamin Runnels, confirmed that her son’s body had been identified in a Facebook post Monday afternoon.
“He was the brightest shining star and we carry him in our hearts,” she wrote. “We would be honored to meet as many of you as we can.” Friends have also started paying tribute to Runnels on his Facebook page.
Runnels and his bandmate, Nicole “Denalda” Renae, had gone to the Ghost Ship party together on Friday. As of Tuesday, Renae was still reported as missing.
Chelsea Dolan, 33
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Chelsea Dolan began creating music when she was a toddler and eventually went on to study classical piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
At 33, she’d become an electronic music producer better known by her stage name, “Cherushii.” She was also a DJ on UC Berkeley’s campus radio station, KALX.
This summer, Dolan was featured on the cover of Chicago’s alt-weekly, the Reader, which described the San Francisco-based performer as an “unsung woman of electronic music.”
“Lack of recognition is so discouraging,” Dolan told the Reader of the challenges she faced as a woman in the electronic music scene. “In a culture as supposedly forward-thinking as electronic music, women are still so often invisible.”
Mere hours before the fire, Dolan had encouraged listeners to tune into her KALX radio show with a post on her Facebook page.
“Chelsea Faith has always been an extraordinary person, full of exuberant joy,” her mother, Colleen Dolan, told the Chronicle. “Her personality, intelligence, clothes, music and kindness were legendary.”
Nicole Siegrist aka Denalda Nicole Renae, 29
The night of the Ghost Ship warehouse party, Nicole Siegrist updated her Facebook profile photo to a picture of herself smirking beneath a bright blue and red bob.
“You look very pretty,” Siegrist’s mom, Carol Cidlik wrote in a comment on the photo. “Love the color on your hair.”
Siegrist, also known as Denalda Nicole Renae, grew up in Lincoln, Neb., and, like many of the partygoers killed in the warehouse fire, had moved to California to pursue her passion for music.
“She was superbrave and carved her own path,” Travis Beck, a fellow Lincoln native turned Los Angeles-based musician, told the Ohama World-Herald. Beck said he first met Siegrist in college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and had performed in two bands with her in California. “She used her weirdness as a strength.”
Recently, she’d been making waves within the local music scene as one half of the synthpop duo Introflirt. Siegrist and bandmate Ben Runnels went to the Ghost Ship party together on Friday night and, according to some reports, may have performed at the event.
Runnels’ mother confirmed Monday that her son’s body had been identified among those killed in the fire.
Though Siegrist technically remained missing until Wednesday, Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre paid tribute to “our own Denalda” and all of the warehouse fire victims on its marquee Monday.
— John McMurtrie (@McMurtrieSF) December 6, 2016
Siegrist’s mother told the Omaha World-Herald Monday that the “outpouring of love and support is just amazing.”
Griffin Madden, 23
Griffin Madden moved across the country from his hometown of Morristown, N.J., to the University of California Berkeley, where he reportedly graduated in 2015 with degrees in philosophy, literature and Slavic languages.
The campus paper, the Daily Californian, reported Wednesday that Madden had been identified as one of the victims, citing a press release from the city of Oakland.
“Completely heartbroken over the loss of Griffin Madden to the tragic Oakland Ghost Ship fire,” Ollie Casey of San Francisco wrote in a Facebook post late Tuesday, with a link to a GoFundMe account that had been created in support of Madden’s family. “Griffin was one of the loveliest, kindest people I have ever known. If you can help his loved ones and family, I know they would appreciate your support in this incredibly difficult time.”
Over the past few days, Saya Tomioka, who has been described in some reports as Griffin’s girlfriend, has issued several calls via Facebook for information regarding the 23-year-old’s whereabouts. On Monday, Tomioka posted a photo of herself and Madden that she said was taken after the couple saw “The Book of Mormon” last year during a trip to New York City.
“I remember tears swelling my eyes because the city was so beautiful and amidst all the lights, I got to look at the brightest light of all, my sweetie,” Tomioka wrote. “I cried, and we kissed.”
Vanessa Plotkin, 21
Vanessa Plotkin was in her third year at UC Berkeley, where she studied sociology. She was originally from Lakewood, Calif.
Over the weekend, Plotkin’s parents told the San Francisco Chronicle that they’d been texting with the 21-year-old on Friday about her plans to go to a party, but they’d been unable to reach her since around 11 that night.
“We’re beside ourselves,” father Gary Plotkin told the Chronicle Saturday. “This is just like a nightmare. I can’t believe this.”
The day before the Ghost Ship party, Plotkin updated her Facebook profile with a photo taken by her roommate, Jennifer Morris, who was also killed in the fire.
Connie Sobczak, who says she met Plotkin while teaching a Body Positive class at UC Berkeley, described the 21-year-old as “a truly amazing and beautiful human being” in a Wednesday post on Facebook.
“As we shared the struggles and vision for our relationship with our bodies, we bonded in a way that made me know I wanted Vanessa in my life forever,” Sobczak wrote. “Her beautiful, radiant smile and bright eyes are forever in my mind from our last moment together.”
Hanna Ruax, 32
Hanna Ruax was a yoga instructor and social activist from Helsinki who’d recently organized a large protest of a neo-Nazi rally in Finland.
Since late November, Ruax had been in Oakland visiting her fiancée, filmmaker Alex Ghassan. The couple attended the Ghost Ship party together and both were reported missing in the wake of the fire. Ghassan was confirmed dead on Monday, as friends and family continued to search for clues as to Ruax’s whereabouts. By Wednesday, Ruax had joined her fiancée on the list of confirmed victims.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ghassan’s roommate, Vikram Babu, described Ruax as “very gentle” and said that Ghassan had been planning to move to Europe to be with her.
Alex Vega, 22
Before they were both killed in the devastating fire that tore through a warehouse in Oakland last week, Alex Vega and his girlfriend, Michela Gregory, worked together at a funeral home in Daly City.
In a Tuesday interview with SFGate, Daniel Vega described his younger brother as “an old soul” whose interests included working on cars, painting and electronic music.
It was Alex’s passion for the arts that, Daniel said, likely drew the 22-year-old to the party at the Ghost Ship warehouse.
“That was our baby Alex,” said Daniel. “He was just a purveyor of the arts. Very artistic. That’s what he did.”
Vega lived with his family in San Bruno, about 20 miles south of Oakland. His car, a silver Mazda Miata convertible, was reportedly found in the parking lot of the San Bruno BART station over the weekend.
Billy Dixon, 35
Billy Dixon was a native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a small Cleveland suburb. On Facebook, Robert St. John Price, who identified himself as the brother of Dixon’s ex-fiancée, posted a lengthy tribute praising Dixon’s skills as a beat boxer and DJ.
Numerous other online tributes included photos of Dixon playing the electric guitar. Price also wrote that Dixon initially moved to Oakland because he was “Verizon Wireless’ number one go-to guy for ringtones.”
“R.I.P. Billy,” Price wrote. “I am still here A little bit of me knows you were the type that would have stayed behind, at your own risk, to help those who needed it most. I know this.”
In a statement to Cleveland19, Dixon’s family said, “He always has a huge smile and a hug for everyone no matter how long he has known them and has an amazing gift of making people feel appreciated.”
Johnny Igaz, 34
Johnny Igaz was a resident of Oakland and a music buyer at Green Apple Books, an independent bookstore in San Francisco.
“While Johnny had only been with us at Green Apple for a few months, one thing that we all know for certain is how we fell head over heels for Johnny in such a short time,” read a statement posted to the store’s Facebook page following the news of Igaz’s death. “His charisma and passions were instantly engaging, and he had a welcoming composure that made everyone feel like a friend.”
Igaz was also a DJ, performing under the stage name Nackt. The day of the warehouse party, he posted a link to the event urging his friends to attend. He was reportedly performing at the time the fire started. Igaz’s ex-wife, Hunter Leight, posted a lengthy tribute to him and their relationship on Medium.
“I am absolutely gutted that he is gone,” Leight wrote. “Absolutely heartbroken. And I am so, so glad that he was here, that he was who he was, and that we got to spend so much of our lives together. We grew each other up, in so many ways. To my partner, my love, my friend, my family- I love you, forever.”
Amanda Allen, 34
Amanda Allen was a photographer and native New Englander who reportedly moved from Boston to San Francisco with her husband, Andrew Kershaw, in 2008.
“She is a universally loved and cherished member of the Bay Area dance community,” Kershaw told the Massachusetts news site Wicked Local of his wife. “She is one of those ultra-rare people that enchants everyone she meets with a shining bright personality, infectious laugh, zero pretense, and just the right amount of witty snark.”
The 34-year-old appears on Facebook under her maiden name, Amanda Allen, but has also been cited in some news reports as Amanda Kershaw. Friends described Allen as a smart, funny music lover and a caring friend.
“She literally embodied the phrase ‘full of life,’” Jena DiPinto, a high school friend of Allen’s told the Boston Globe. “If she wanted to do something, she did it.”
Ara Jo, 29
According to SFGate, Ara Jo was a visual artist. On her own Facebook page, the 29-year-old Los Angeles native described herself as an employee of the Ink Stone, an art supplies store, and Sgraffito, an art gallery.
Jo was also reportedly involved in organizing the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest, an “indie media celebration” in Berkeley. Her boyfriend, Terry Ewing, told the Associated Press that Jo had recently dedicated herself to raising money and awareness on behalf of American Indians protesting the Dakota Access pipeline.
“She’s a typical artist,” Ewing said said of Jo, whose parents are residents of South Korea. “She’s got more causes than she has energy, even though she has a lot of energy.”
Jason Adrian McCarty, 36
Jason Adrian McCarty was an Iowa native who moved to California to pursue a master’s at the San Francisco Art Institute, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
McCarty uploaded photos of his illustrations to his Facebook page and his father, Gene McCarty, told the Chronicle he had a range of artistic interests.
“He’s done artwork, comics, wrote and illustrated books,” the older McCarty said. “He’s ventured into sound and music — a little bit of everything.”
McCarty’s LinkedIn page indicated he earned his bachelor’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art and worked as an AV technician at a company that provided technical equipment for large events. He also produced music under the stage name Dilatedears. The last song posted to his SoundCloud was titled “Grace’s Anti-Gravity Glance,” after his girlfriend, Grace Lovio. Lovio had been studying in Paris, where McCarty visited her in October, but returned to the U.S. when she learned McCarty was missing.
Lovio told the Los Angeles Times she woke up the day after the fire to see McCarty had sent her one last message on Facebook. “Love you a zilliopzazillion,” it read.
Wolfgang Renner, 61
At 61, Wolfgang Renner was the oldest victim of the fire. A resident of Oakland by way of Bavaria, he sustained himself by doing odd jobs while trying to generate interest in his electronic keyboard music, SFGate reported.
A friend, Nettie Lozano, posted a tribute to Renner on Facebook: “R.I.P. Wolfie! You will be missed…I enjoyed your cocktail parties in S.F. in the 90’s. I had so much fun hanging out with you. I’m sorry we lost contact with each other. Rest in peace cool cat!”
Barrett Clark, 35
Barrett Clark was resident of Oakland and a freelance sound engineer, according to his Facebook page. His LinkedIn listed a number of musical acts and music venues he worked with. One band, Lumerians, wrote a tribute to their “friend and collaborater [sic],” who they described as “a true positive force that lived for music and had a profound effect on so many people around the world.”
One friend, Chiyo Nukaga, praised Clark for both his skill and high profile in the Bay Area nightlife scene: “He could make any band sound great. He was loved by so many in the music and art community and beyond.”
Nick Walrath, 31
Nick Walrath was a 31-year-old attorney who had recently joined the San Francisco law firm Durie Tangri. In a statement, the firm said, “In the short time he had been at our firm, Nick already had shown himself to be a fine lawyer as well as a good and caring person. Our thoughts are with his family and his loved ones, who had been blessed to know Nick far better than we had the chance to, and whose loss is thus so much greater than our own.”
Walrath earned his bachelor’s in physics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before receiving a law degree from New York University in 2013. His mother, Deb Walrath, told SFGate, “He was a lawyer, but he was so much more. He was fiercely curious, charming and graceful. He was the person that his younger sisters and their friends all looked up to. He was the coolest kid in the room who never acted like he was cool. … Above all he was kind to every person he came into contact with. He radiated warmth and was without an ounce of rancor.”
He is survived by his long-term girlfriend, Alexis Abrams-Bourke. He had reportedly texted Abrams-Bourke while at the warehouse to say a fire had broken out and that he loved her.
Peter Wadsworth, 38
Peter Wadsworth was the only victim of the fire who had lived in the warehouse. He was known to his neighbors as the “wise wizard” of the collective, according to fellow member Swan Vega.
“He was a walking catalogue of correct factual knowledge,” Vega told SFGate. “He was a genius. He was pure intelligence. You could catch Pete in the hall,” she said, “and suddenly realize you have been engaging in the most interesting conversation you’ve had in a month, when you need to go to work.”
According to his Facebook page, Wadsworth was a Boston native who studied psychology at Harvard University and Reed College.
Michelle Sylvan, 37
Michelle Sylvan was reportedly in a relationship with Wolfgang Renner, who also died in the fire. A friend of the couple’s, Robert Janca, said the world was “decidedly less colorful” without the pair. “[Wolfgang’s] lovely, wildly creative partner Michelle was a potent visionary and was always up for life’s adventure.”
Joseph Matlock AKA Joey Casio, 36
Joseph Matlock performed punk and electronic music under the stage name Joey Casio. Calvin Johnson, founder of K Records, where Matlock recorded some music, told SFGate of Matlock, “He would do his music, do his art no matter what. There was never a wide interest in what he did, but it didn’t seem to bother him.”
Matlock himself echoed this sentiment in a Facebook post aimed at his fellow musicians: “Stop trying to be a Performer and try to learn how to be a Facilitator. This is not rock n roll. … Let go of its mythology of Western individualism and accept that you are an active participant in something larger than yourself.”
Matlock’s parents, Kathe and John Matlock, told SFGate they were relieved their son’s remains had been officially identified and attended a tribute to him this week, along with over 100 other people.
Jonathan Bernbaum, 34
Jonathan Bernbaum was a Berkeley, Calif., native and graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, according to an obituary published in Berkeleyside. (A Facebook event page indicated there was a vigil for Bernbaum held at the school Monday.)
He likely drew on his film education when he was performed in clubs as a VJ, “creating a visual experience mixing lights, colors and images,” per SFGate.
He was scheduled to VJ at Ghost Ship on Friday, when the fire broke out. One of Bernbaum’s close friends, Nabila Lester, told SFGate, “He just was an absolutely fearless human being. Committed to his art and sharing it with people.”