Oakland warehouse fire survivors describe escape from blaze as confirmed death toll rises to 30

Survivors of the deadly fire at an Oakland, California, warehouse party described on Sunday how quickly the flames "completely engulfed" the structure and having to leave a friend behind — as authorities said the death toll has climbed to at least 30 people, with others still missing.

Bob Mulè, a member of the "24-hour artists' collective" that was inhabiting the warehouse, told the TODAY Show on Sunday that he was forced to leave behind a friend and suffered burns on his arms, hand and shoulder while trying to escape the flames on Friday night. A black vest Mulè was wearing during the fire was completely charred in the back, he said.

Mulè said after finding a fire extinguisher that did not work he ran to get his camera when he saw Pete Wadsworth, a fellow member of the collective on the floor.

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Deadly Oakland 'Ghost Ship' fire
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Deadly Oakland 'Ghost Ship' fire
Firefighters work inside the burned warehouse following the fatal fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Smoke rises above a warehouse as firefighters work to put out remaining hot spots following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03: A woman becomes emotional while speaking on the phone near the scene following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03: Firefighters work at the scene following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag
Oakland, California, firefighters inspect a warehouse (Rear C) on December 3, 2016, where a fire during a rave party killed 9 people on December 2. Nine people were killed and 25 missing after a huge blaze broke out during a rave party near San Francisco held in a cluttered, maze-like warehouse for artists, known as 'Oakland Ghostship,' fire officials said Saturday. / AFP / Virginie GOUBIER (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE GOUBIER/AFP/Getty Images)
People embrace during a vigil at the Chapel of the Chimes for the victims of a fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A woman places flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Firefighters exit a warehouse where a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A firefighter carries a water hose near a warehouse where a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Firefighters remove debris at a warehouse after a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Recovery teams examine the charred remains of the two-story converted warehouse that caught fire killing dozens in Oakland, California, U.S., December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Danielle Boudreaux, 40, who knew Derick Ion Almena and his children and went to the Ghost Ship many times, cries a sidewalk memorial near the burned warehouse following the fatal fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People gather at the Lake Merritt Pergola during a vigil for the victims of the fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, California, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 05: People hold up candles and burning wood during a vigil for the victims of a warehouse fire that has claimed the lives of at least thirty-six people on December 5, 2016 in Oakland, California. The fire took place during a musical event late Friday night. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 05: Law enforcement and firefighters are seen at the site of a warehouse fire that has claimed the lives of at least thirty-six people on December 5, 2016 in Oakland, California. The fire took place during a musical event late Friday night. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
A firefighter watches from the roof at the scene of the fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, California, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 04: An unidentified bystander looks at the site of the warehouse fire in Oakland, CA Sunday, December 4, 2016. Officials said they are continuing to search the charred rubble from the fatal fire that ripped through a late-night dance party in a converted warehouse earlier in the weekend. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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"He must've broken his ankle while coming down from his loft and his space and he needed me to pull him out," Mulè said. "I tried my best and there was just stuff in the way some stuff had fallen and it was hectic."

"If I didn't have this vest on while I was pulling out Pete, I don't know it would've been me too probably," he said.

Mulè later told NBC News he was "100 percent certain" Wadsworth did not survive. Wadsworth is currently officially listed as missing.

The Alameda County Sheriff's office said in a press conference Sunday that they have located the remains of 30 victims from the fire.

"We anticipate the number of victims will rise and it will increase," said Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly.

He said that officials have only searched about 20 percent of the building as of Sunday morning.

During the fire at the building — known as the Oakland Ghost Ship — the roof collapsed onto the second floor where the party was held, and parts of the second floor collapsed onto the first floor, officials said.

Max Ohr, the creative director of the art collective that used the warehouse, told the TODAY Show Sunday that he was working the door on the night of the party and around 70 people were "in the venue enjoying music" when he heard someone say there was a fire.

Ohr said he "saw an orange glow coming from the back of the warehouse" and ran to get an extinguisher.

"I ran back and got maybe one squirt out of and realized it wasn't going to do anything," he said. "The roof had already caught and the flames were coming towards the door at an alarming rate."

"It took about 15 seconds to go from notification of a fire to completely engulfed," he added.

Ohr said there were no sprinklers in the building prior to the art collective leasing the warehouse and Fire Department Operations Chief Mark Hoffman said Saturday night he saw no evidence of sprinklers.

Ohr added that he believed it was an electrical fire and they had reported problems with the building's electricity to the warehouse's owner.

"They were not very helpful with us throughout the entirety of our struggle with the electricity here so that's my first instinct is to think perhaps some of the building's wiring had something to do with this," he said.

"The landlord has been in communication with both myself and the owner of this space for at least three years now and the electricity was a major issue prior to my coming on board," he said.

In a statement to NBC Bay Area on Saturday, the warehouse's owner daughter said the family had no comment.

"We are also trying to figure out what's going on like everyone else. We're so sorry to hear about the tragedy," Eva Ng said in an email attributed to her mother, building owner Chor Ng. "Our condolences go out to the families and friends of those injured and those who lost their lives."

Ng did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the warehouse's electrical issues on Sunday.

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