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Two men with local ties may be among Oakland warehouse fire victims

A screen shot of profile photo from Edmond Lapine’s Facebook page.
A screen shot of profile photo from Edmond Lapine’s Facebook page. Facebook

Two men with ties to Olympia have been listed as “missing” and are unaccounted for after a fire tore through a converted Oakland warehouse Friday during a dance party.

Musician Joseph Matlock, who performs under the stage names Joey Casio and Obsidian Blade, is among the missing, according to his label, K Records in Olympia.

“He’s a real institution for Olympia,” K Records founder and owner Calvin Johnson told The Olympian on Monday. “He used to live in a well-known punk house here in town called The Red House.”

In addition, Edmond Lapine was reported missing. He is a 2008 graduate of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, college spokesman Todd Sprague said.

Lapine also has a connection to K Records: A few years ago, he was an intern for the label for about six months, Johnson said.

“He’s memorable because he’s a very snappy dresser, and we share a love for old soul 45s,” Johnson said. “He’s good friends with Joey.”

Flames tore through the building, known as the “Ghost Ship,” during a dance party Friday night. The cluttered warehouse had been converted to artist studios and illegal living spaces, and former residents said it was a death trap of piled wood, furniture, snaking electrical cords and only two exits.

The death toll from Friday night’s fire climbed to 36 on Monday. Teenagers, the son of a sheriff’s deputy and young artists were among dozens of people killed.

Johnson said Casio grew up in Vancouver, Washington, and moved to Olympia in the late 1990s, or around 2000.

“He uses drum machines and he creates beats and it’s on the techno-end, I think,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure what genre he would classify himself as. He’s a wonderful performer.”

Casio moved from Olympia to Portland about 2011. He returned to Olympia for a while, but then moved to Oakland at some point, Johnson said.

Casio recorded several singles at K. The label is donating proceeds of a special sale of three of Casio’s singles to a relief fund for victims of the fire.

As of Monday, the label had already donated nearly $700 to the fund, Johnson said.

He said everyone at the label is keeping their fingers crossed that both men will be found OK.

“But the thing is, this kind of event is very common for the artists that we work with — warehouse shows, loft shows,” Johnson said. “So even before we knew there was a connection with the people involved, it was devastating to a lot of people because this is a very common scenario. It’s ‘there but for the grace of God.’ 

It was the most lethal building fire in the U.S. in more than a decade.

The city of Oakland identified some of the other people killed as Cash Askew, 22, David Clines, 35, Travis Hough, 35, and Donna Kellogg, 32, all of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado, California; Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek, California; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward, California.

Officials said they have identified an eighth victim but are withholding the name because the person was only 17 years old.

Many friends and family members were still anxiously awaiting word of their missing loved ones Monday. The search for remains was suspended overnight because of an unstable wall but had resumed. Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern told The Associated Press he didn’t believe there would be additional bodies found, but could not be certain.

Andy Kershaw, a DJ, said his wife and several friends were among those unaccounted for. He called his wife, photographer Amanda Allen, vibrant, awesome and magnetic.

Kershaw said his friend and fellow DJ Johnny Igaz also was missing.

Igaz reportedly was playing a set when the fire broke out. He was listed on Facebook as a record buyer at Green Apple Books and Music in San Francisco. His Facebook page was filled with tearful posts from friends who called him a beautiful soul and a true friend.

Yuri Kundin of San Francisco said he was waiting for word on his friends Alex Ghassan and Hanna Henriikka Ruax. He hasn’t heard from the couple in the past few days and has plastered notes looking for them on social media. Henriikka Ruax is from Finland.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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