It’s been a few days now since the unfortunate incident in Oakland, California where a fierce blaze gutted through a two-story warehouse that was home to The Ghost Ship, an informal arts haven frequented by local artists, musicians and their aficionados. Already city authorities have been describing the fire that broke out there the evening of December 2 to Oakland’s most severe fire-related disaster. The fact that it happened during a public party with a popular guest performer made it even worse with how many people were reported to have been present when it all came down, as evidenced by the number of bodies still being found until this writing.
USA Today reports that at the latest, the death toll for the Ghost Ship warehouse fire has reached 33, with the possibility that it’ll get even higher before the week is out. A number of the fatalities have been identified as teenagers, among them the son of a police deputy. By the afternoon of Sunday December 4 the recovery workers have only managed to comb about a third of the total area occupied by the warehouse structure, as told by Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda Sherriff’s Office at a recent news conference.
Meanwhile Mayor Libby Schaaf has described the scope of the fire as a “tremendous calamity”, and noted that a criminal investigation team has been assembled by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, and that the investigators were already at work examining the charred remains of The Ghost Ship. She also revealed that at least seven families who have had members present at the warehouse during the blaze have been informed of their relatives’ passing. “It is with so much grief and so much compassion that we as your city family share with you this horrific news" she told them.
The gathering at the Ghost Ship on the night of the fire was for an electronic rave party, with mixing being done by DJ Golden Donna. Holding such performances was apparently how the Ghost Ship’s leaseholder Derick Ion Almena had been able to acquire funding to pay for rent to the warehouse owner. It should be noted however that the building has not been well maintained, with notations received regarding fire code violations and the large amounts of trash and debris in the surrounding premises that were considered fire hazards. The interiors were even worse according to other members of the Bay art communes that frequented The Ghost Ship. The rooms had been crammed with old wooden furniture and various flammable supplies.
As family members flock to the partially collapsed hulk of the warehouse waiting for word, other people have begun leaving flowers and other tokens near the scene. Therapy dogs have also been provided by organizations to ease the pain of the worried and grieving relatives present.
Photo Credit to http://www.nbcbayarea.com/