Survivors Recount 'Wall of Fire' at Oakland Warehouse Blaze

The blaze killed at least 36 people.

December 5, 2016, 3:28 PM

— -- Survivors of an inferno at an Oakland, California, warehouse that killed at least 36 people recall waking up to a "wall of fire" and billowing smoke so powerful that it opened a window, letting in oxygen that apparently intensified the blaze.

Nikki Kelber, a resident of the warehouse, which housed artist studios, said she was asleep Friday night and "woke up to smoke and an entire wall of fire."

"I started walking toward the front door, and I called for help, and I don't know that anybody could hear me with the music," Kelber said. "Minutes later, the power went out, so everyone who was inside was trapped in the dark."

Authorities continued Monday to search for bodies from the fire, which was called in to the Oakland Fire Department at 11:32 p.m. Friday. A dance party was going on in the building at the time the blaze began. Among the victims whose bodies have been found so far, some were teens.

Another survivor, Carmen Brito, described "15 feet of flames, literally." She recalled "just being hit in the face by black smoke that I was immediately blinded by and made my eyes water."

"I couldn't breathe, and [the smoke] was so strong that it actually opened my window, which then brought all this oxygen into the space, which just fueled it and made it worse, and that's when the power went out," she said.

Brito remembered "getting outside and realizing that there are no fire trucks here yet, there was nobody here."

The Oakland Fire Department searched about 70 percent of the charred building as of this morning but had to stop because of unsafe conditions, Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed told "Good Morning America" today. Firefighters were expected to resume the search for victims later today.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events