Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area say they are prepared to deal with up to 40 deaths after a fire broke out at a warehouse party in Oakland, California.
Alameda County Sheriff's Seargent Ray Kelly said on Saturday that nine people are confirmed dead, and he expects that number to rise.
Firefighters outside the warehouse (Reuters)
Oakland fire chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said some people escaped and that between 50 and 100 people were at the warehouse at the time of the fire.
"There is a large majority of that building that has not been searched," Ms Deloach-Reed said during a press briefing.
"We are hoping that the number nine is what there is and that there are no more," the fire chief said, referring to the number of known fatalities. "But we have not done a complete search of the building."
Ms 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.
A Facebook event page showed 176 people planned to attend the party, which featured a performance by the electronic music act Golden Donna.
The page, which listed 355 others as interested in going, carried posts from people who were either missing or accounted for.