Nine dead following a fire at a warehouse party in California

The potential number of victims is currently unknown

Update: 19:07

A fire broke at a warehouse party in California last night has killed at least nine people.

However, officials the death toll could be as high as 40.

Firefighters said there had been about 50 people inside the building in Oakland's Fruitvale district.

Crews did not believe smoke detectors were activated during the blaze and there was no sprinkler system in the building, said fire chief Teresa Deloach-Reed.

She said most of the people who died were found on the second floor.

“This is pretty tragic for us,” Deloach-Reed said. “It is hitting this community pretty hard. I don’t even want to talk about how the families and friends are feeling. We have a community that’s hurting.”

Majority of those inside the building are young people, some of whom are from outside the Bay Area, Kelly told reporters. Some are foreigners.

Police told local television station KTVU that the facility houses a group of artists and their studios.

Bob Mule, a photographer and artist who lives at the building and suffered minor burns, was quoted as saying: "It was too hot, too much smoke, I had to get out of there.

"I literally felt my skin peeling and my lungs being suffocated by smoke. I couldn't get the fire extinguisher to work."

Los Angeles-based electronic label 100% Silk was holding a show there at the time.