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#LatestUpdate : Victims of the Oakland fire: Who they were

A fire ripped through a warehouse in Oakland on Friday night, killing  36 people who were there for an electronic music concert. Here are the names of people who have been confirmed dead by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau or immediate family members. 

Cash Askew, 22

Cash Askew of Oakland played guitar in a goth-pop duo called Them Are Us Too, which released its first record last year and had been on tour recently.

Askew’s girlfriend, Anya Taylor, called her a “megamaster of electronic music” and wept over the phone as she spoke of Askew.

Taylor, an Oakland musician and performance artist, met Askew a year ago at a concert, and the two bonded over their love of music.

“We seemed to live these parallel lives,” Taylor said. “Two bottles of trashy rosé and drunkenly singing Morrissey later, we just knew. … We became instant family when we met.”

Askew was a transgender woman, and she and Taylor shared a close-knit community of artist friends, many of whom were at the warehouse, known as the “Ghost Ship,” that night. For many people who “shared a queer identity,” underground venues like the warehouse were places where they felt safe.

Taylor called her girlfriend “the spirit of San Francisco.”

“I need the world to know how incredible she was,” Taylor said through tears. “I loved her more than anything in the world.”

On Friday night, Taylor was at home while Askew went to the party. Taylor had planned to go but had to go to work the next morning and told Askew to have fun and be safe. She didn’t hear from her but assumed “she was probably just having fun.”

Then Taylor saw news about the fire online and rushed to the Ghost Ship. She stood outside the building for four hours.

“I watched the building burn, and I lost the love of my life,” Taylor said, her voice almost a whisper.

Musician Madigan Shive first met Askew when Askew was about 10 years old. Askew grew up surrounded by the Bay Area’s underground music scene, so it made sense that she became a part of it, Shive said.

“Everybody just saw this star, just saw this shooting star in her,” she said.

Askew’s record label, Dais Records, issued a statement praising her “gentle kindness, and her creative momentum.”

“She was loved and admired by everyone she met, and her passing is an excruciating loss that we may never fully process or recover from,” it read.

– Hailey Branson-Potts and Sonali Kohli

Em Bohlka, 33

Em Bohlka was a poet with a master’s degree in literature and a penchant for quoting Kurt Vonnegut.

When Jack Bohlka, Em’s father, heard how devastating the fire had been, he worried that he would have to wait days for news. But police appeared at his Claremont home at dawn Monday. His child, Em, was gone.

Earlier this year she had transitioned to be a woman. She felt renewed. Her father couldn’t have been more proud. 

“She was just a completely loving individual, truly a gentle spirit, thoughtful and philosophical,” said Jack Bohlka, 62.

The fire brought attention to the transgender community, and Jack Bohlka said he hopes it stays there “to let them know that they’re all loved,” he said, his voice breaking. “And they should truly be who they want to be.”

His daughter had worked as a barista, writing poetry and practicing photography from time to time. She and her father shared a love for “Slaughterhouse-Five” and texted Vonnegut quotes to each other. One they loved: “Out on the edge you can see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

-- Corina Knoll

David Cline, 24

Amanda Walker remembers David Cline as a bright, fun-loving student who was at once easygoing and serious.

Walker taught Cline clarinet from age 8 to 18, when he graduated from high school.

“When you’re teaching that age, kids and young people, it’s so much more than just teaching an instrument,” Walker said. “He would talk to me about things and his goals.”

The teacher said she had a special relationship with Cline and called his death “a really big loss.” She still gets together with Cline’s mother, she said, to get coffee or have breakfast.

She hadn’t seen him for a couple of years but they had stayed in touch – that’s the beauty of Facebook, she said, adding that he did extremely well in school and played volleyball at a championship level.

“He was just really humorous,” she said of her student. “He really enjoyed himself.”

Walker said her “heart hurts” and she “feels very sad” knowing Cline was one of the victims.

“It’s a huge loss and it’s always so tragic,” she said. “This is not the right way around. I don’t expect to be going to a memorial service for one of my former students.” 

— Sarah Parvini

Micah Danemayer, 28

Chelsea Dolan, 33

Chelsea Dolan’s mother, Colleen Dolan, took to Facebook on Monday to remember her daughter as an "extraordinary person, full of exuberant joy."

Colleen Dolan said that at age 3, Chelsea discovered she could pick up any musical instrument and "play a tune she had heard, or the well-composed song she'd just written in her head." At 13, she found a Japanese music magazine and acquired 78 pen pals, handwriting letters to each one, her mother shared.

Chelsea Dolan studied music, including classical piano, in high school but “turned to electronic music when she realized it allowed her to play the complex and haunting melodies she heard in her head," her mother wrote.

Chelsea Dolan had a radio program as DJ Cherushii at the UC Berkeley radio station KALX-FM, her mother said.

"Nothing Chelsea Faith did was ordinary. She was an adventurer; she was stellar in every way, and she will always be the star of our hearts," her mother wrote.

-- Brittny Mejia

Alex Ghassan, 35

Nick Gomez-Hall, 25

Nick Gomez-Hall was a graduate of Coronado High School who worked at Counterpoint Press, a publisher based in Berkeley.

Friends on Facebook called him a "musical loving genius" and brilliant artist, and said his loss was devastating to the many people who knew and loved him.

"Nick made me — and many others — feel a little less alone in some of the most challenging years of our lives," wrote Nile Cappello. "I hope his family and friends feel a little less alone knowing how much he impacted each and every one of us."

"Such very sad news about our sweet friend Nick Gomez-Hall," wrote Stacy Childers. "Nick was one of the most creative souls I know and loved by everyone. Our prayers go out to the entire Gomez family."

Gomez-Hall's family could not be reached for comment.

— Lyndsay Winkley

Michela Angelina Gregory, 20

Sara Hoda, 30

Sara Hoda of Walnut Creek, Calif., was a teacher who enjoyed working with children, loved ones said.

Before Hoda’s identity was released, friend Carol Crewdson realized she’d gone dancing at the warehouse and launched a desperate Facebook search for information on her whereabouts.

Crewdson and Hoda met in 2010 when they started a collective, a place for traveling artists to land and creatives to rest their heads when they couldn’t afford Northern California’s rising rents. They housed around 25 people at a time, sometimes as many as 32.

“Sara was always really active in that process,” Crewdson said. “She was always an active participant. She was unique.”

She said that Hoda worked as a teacher at a Montessori school.

“She was a really sweet person,” Crewdson said. “She gardened and taught children how to garden.”

— Sarah Parvini

Travis Hough, 35

Travis Hough of Oakland was a creative arts therapist for a school in the Bay Area and a member of the band Ghosts of Lightning, according to his manager, Brendan Dreaper.

“He was a super fun person to be around. I never had a bad day being around him,” Dreaper said. “Travis had his heart open to everything and I’m at a loss for what to say.”

Dreaper met Hough through two friends who were also missing after the fire, he said Sunday. The two bonded over their shared history as glass artists. They talked about philosophy, spirituality and music. Together, they produced a podcast in which Hough interviewed people about their creative processes.

“He just was like a bright light for everyone that he ever met,” Dreaper said.

– Sonali Kohli

Donna Kellogg, 32

Ginger Kellogg Jimenez wrote about her sister’s death on Facebook, in a thread of comments on the “Golden Donna 100% Silk 2016 West Coast Tour” event page.

“This is my sister, and we were notified this morning that her body was found. Prayers for the family will be greatly appreciated,” Kellogg Jimenez wrote late Sunday morning.

Elsewhere on Facebook, Kellogg’s friends remembered her as a “beautiful giggly, wise, person who will be very missed.” For nearly 24 hours, many had posted asking about her whereabouts and wondering whether she was safe. For many, it served as a place to explore their feelings and cope with loss. There was no point in gathering at the scene of the fire, some said — Facebook is where the grieving would take place.

“It is very difficult to write about Donna in the past tense. She is an incredible spirit and soul and I will miss her terribly. Deep condolences to your family, Ginger. Words cannot express how sad and shocked I am by this news,” Amelia Thorne wrote in response to Jimenez’s post.

“I'm so sorry,” Stefanie Kalem followed.

“I'm out of words. Drained,” Gregory Scharpen said. “I truly feel for you and the family; everything I type seems so inadequate.”

Kellogg of Oakland was reportedly on the second floor of the warehouse when the flames erupted. Her family did not return calls for comment.

— Sarah Parvini

Edmund Lapine, 34

Jennifer Morris, 21

Feral Pines, 29

Feral Pines had only recently moved to Oakland, but she was the happiest she had been in a long time and was starting to build a new life, brother Ben Fritz said.

Pines, a 29-year-old transgender woman, had been drawn to the city’s artist scene and flourishing transgender community, said Fritz, a Wall Street Journal reporter who lives in L.A.

Pines was a musician who played bass guitar and had been experimenting with several other instruments, Fritz said. She was a good listener and loved animals, especially her dog, Grimma, whom she doted on.

“She’s one of the gentlest and sweetest people I ever knew,” Fritz said. “She’s extremely intelligent. I considered her very brave. Life isn’t easy for transgender people, but she followed her path and was true to herself.”

Pines, who also used the name Riley with family, was at Fritz’s house for Thanksgiving. That day, she gushed about how happy she was in Oakland, where she had lived for about three months after moving from Indiana.

Pines had musical equipment stored at Fritz’s house from her move and after Thanksgiving took it back to the Bay Area, where she was planning to form a new band.

Fritz never saw her again.

On Saturday morning, Fritz got a text message from one of Pines’ friends who had been at the Ghost Ship, telling him his sister had been there.

The family provided photographs to authorities and got confirmation from the Alameda County coroner Sunday night that Pines had died, Fritz said.

— Hailey Branson-Potts

Ben (Charlie Prowler) Runnels, 32

Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye, 31

Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye's aunt said Monday that the world had "lost a precious daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend and co-worker."

“She walked quietly in her unassuming way, sprinkling us with her brilliance and creativity, opening our eyes to a better world,” Cheryl Tanouye added.

Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye had worked in music for years, at indie record stores, booking live acts, most recently as a music manager at Shazam. At a company-wide meeting Monday, employees celebrated her energy and kindness, which had made her an artist favorite.

“Our entire company is in absolute mourning. She was incredibly popular at Shazam, for both her incredible work and also just being an incredible, incredible person to people,” said Rich Riley, Shazam's chief executive.

-- Brittny Mejia

Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32
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