Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Ghost Ship Warehouse Turned Into an Oven, Once Fire Started Inside the Cinderblocks

The converted warehouse was known as "The Ghost Ship," and that turns out to have been destiny in a name

The converted warehouse was known as "The Ghost Ship," and that turns out to have been destiny in a name.

Firemen and Oakland Police say as many as 40 young people have been killed in a massive fire that happened Friday night during a concert inside a converted warehouse in Oakland.

30 people have been confirmed dead and 5 others remain missing. Sgt. Ray Kelly, spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, told reporters during a press conference Saturday that officials are "prepared to deal with up to 30 to 40 deceased people."

Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says the building didn't have a clear exit path and that the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell built from pallets. Reports are that people were living there without a permits.

The City of Oakland had been investigating the use of the warehouse for housing, and for raves, drug filled music parties for young people.

"We literally go one by one pice by piece through there," said a fire dept. spokesman, at an impromptu press conference. There is discrepancy about how many are missing." The process is grim and fire fighters have PTSD from slowly going through the ruins. Firemen believe they will have at least eht known dead out of the building in 24 hours.

The building lacked fire sprinklers, and was filled with flammables. There were a number of complaints and an ongoing investigation. The cinderblock building with wood inside has been called "an oven" once the flammables were ablaze inside.

The three-alarm fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Friday at a building off 31st Avenue and International Boulevard, about three miles outside of downtown Oakland, according to the Oakland Police Department.

The fire broke out during a party featuring musician Golden Donna's 100% Silk West Coast Tour. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed told The Washington Post that more 50 people were inside the building, a warehouse that's been turned into multi-purpose venue for artist exhibits and parties.

"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."

Most of those inside the building were young people, some of whom came from outside the San Francisco Bay Area, Kelly told reporters. A few are from outside the U.S.

Oakland is the largest American city with an African American majority, West of the Mississippi River.


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