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The blaze in an Oakland, California, warehouse that functioned as an unsanctioned residence and event space is one of the deadliest building fires in the United States in the last 50 years. Although the fire's current death toll of 36 puts it seventh on the list, the number of victims is expected to grow — likely pushing it higher.
Below are the 10 deadliest building fires of the past 50 years.
1. World Trade Center, New York City: Sept. 11, 2001 — 2,753 Killed
A day that will live in infamy. The World Trade Center was the worst terrorist attack in United States history. The crashing of two jetliners into the World Trade Center Buildings, perpetrated by the terrorist group al-Qaeda, killed 2,753 people in New York City. Though the initial impact of the plane and building collapse killed many, the fires were deadly as well and continued for 99 days after 9/11. Tens of thousands of people have developed illnesses, some of them terminal, because of exposure to toxins and poisons from the site. The attack led to the war in Afghanistan, which has continued for 15 years.
2. Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City: April 19, 1995 — 168 Killed
More than 20 years ago, a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people — including children. Now known as the Oklahoma City Bombing, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil until 9/11 and the worst act of domestic terrorism in the country's history. Many died from the ensuing fire and from smoke inhalation — almost 40 percent of the victims who died or were injured suffered from the latter, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health. Timothy McVeigh, an anti-government militant, set off the explosives and was put to death by lethal injection in 2001. His co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is serving multiple life sentences in a Colorado federal penitentiary.
3. Beverly Hills Supper Club, South Gate, Kentucky: May 28, 1977 — 165 Killed
More than 3,000 people were at the Beverly Hills Supper Club when a fire started in the "Zebra room," according to the Center for Fire Research, a department of the National Bureau of Standards. Most were able to escape, but 165 were killed inside the club. The fire fed through an interior corridor and spread throughout the club. At the time, it was the deadliest fire in more than 30 years.
4. The Station Nightclub, West Warwick, Rhode Island: Feb. 20, 2003 — 100 Killed
The Station nightclub blaze — the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, according to the National Fire Protection Association — killed 100 people and led the NFPA to create code provisions for sprinklers and crowd management in similar venues. Hundreds of people had gone to the nightclub to see the band Great White, whose pyrotechnics display caused the inferno that engulfed the club in less than six minutes. The band's manager and the nightclub owner were sentenced to 15 years in prison, although both were granted parole in 2008, The Associated Press reported.
5. Happy Land Social Club, Bronx, New York: March 25, 1990 — 87 Killed
A spurned boyfriend, unemployed Cuban refugee Julio Gonzalez, set the Happy Land social club in the Bronx ablaze after getting into an argument with his girlfriend, who worked there, according to NBC New York. He was kicked out of the club and returned after 3 a.m. with gasoline and matches. He lit the guest exit on fire and pulled the metal front gate closed. Eighty-seven people died within minutes. It was the deadliest blaze in the city's history since the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. fire in 1911, exactly 79 years earlier.
6. MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas: Nov. 21, 1980 — 84 Killed
The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino fire, which is considered the second deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history, killed 84 people and injured more than 700 others. According to the Clark County Fire Department's report, the source was an electrical fire in the Deli restaurant. Within six minutes of its discovery, the fire had started to spread at 15 to 19 feet per second because of a "flashover" that quickly ate plastic ornamental fixtures, wall coverings, furniture and other combustibles.
7. 'The Ghost Ship,' Oakland, California: Dec. 3, 2016 — 36 Killed (number expected to grow)
The death toll of the warehouse fire in Oakland has climbed to at least 36 people, with more missing and expected to be added to the list. It is the deadliest fire in Oakland history. The interior of the building, known as "The Ghost Ship," was filled with combustible wooden objects and didn't have a sprinkler system. Many people were trapped on the second floor during a party, as the staircase — which was built of wooden pallets — was quickly swallowed by the fire. People were illegally living in the unsanctioned art collective, as well.
8. UpStairs Lounge, New Orleans: June 24, 1973 — 32 Killed
An unknown arsonist set fire to a New Orleans gay bar in 1972, killing 32 people. It was considered the deadliest attack on an LGBT space until the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, this year. The arsonist doused the stairwell into the bar with lighter fluid and threw a lighted torch to ignite the fire. The entire bar was alight in minutes. Many people died because the building didn't follow proper fire safety measures and the only emergency exit wasn't clearly marked, according to New Orleans Historical, a history project created by the University of New Orleans and Tulane University.
9. Imperial Foods Chicken Processing Plant, Hamlet, North Carolina: Sept. 3, 1991 — 25 Killed
According to report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the fire at the Imperial Foods Chicken Processing Plant killed 25 people and injured 54 others in September 1991. The conveyor of a hydraulic line on one of the plant's cookers burst, which ejected hydraulic fluid that burst into flames because of the plumes of heating gas expelled by a cooking vat. This created a fireball, and spread smoke rapidly, confusing those people inside. Many of the exit doors were locked, causing many people to hide in a cooler or to seek other exits. The toxic gas killed many of those trying to escape.
10. House fire in Charleston, West Virginia: March 24, 2012 — Killed 9
A house fire in Charleston, West Virginia, left nine dead — seven of them were children between the ages of one and eight. The home had only one smoke alarm that was not properly installed, according to NBC affiliate WSAZ. All were sleeping at the time of the early morning fire and likely died from smoke inhalation. Fire officials were never able to determine the cause of the blaze, but they did not believe it was suspicious.