What was meant to be a fun night out for many has turned into an unmitigated disaster after a fire in Oakland broke out in a converted warehouse on Friday night with up to 40 people feared dead.
The venue, referred to locally as the Oakland Ghost Ship, was the location of a rave called the Golden Donna 100% Silk West Coast Tour, and worried friends and family members have been using the event’s Facebook page to find any information they possibly can on their loved ones after the Oakland warehouse fire. People have been urged to post any and all information they have on anyone missing here.
“The police have asked for missing people’s photos and identifying features. Piercings, tattoos, clothing they were wearing, weight, birthday, hair color etc. they asked to post on this Facebook event. Please post info here. Making a new post with the names we currently have missing at the Sheriff’s office. PLEASE comment if you know 100% if any of these people are safe.”
— Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) December 3, 2016
The fire in the converted Oakland warehouse began at 11:30 p.m. on Friday night and Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed has stated that there were between 50 and 100 people inside the building at the time.
The Oakland warehouse was found to have no sprinkler systems installed to help stop the fire that broke out. Furthermore, the fire department heard no smoke alarms when they arrived on the scene. The warehouse, which featured the work of various artists, was also stuffed full of objects, making it extremely difficult for firefighters to navigate their way through the warehouse in order to fight the blaze.
“It was filled end to end with furniture, whatnot, collections. It was like a maze almost.”
Nine bodies have been recovered so far, but Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly stated that this number may rise to 40 fatalities. As the roof of the Oakland warehouse has caved in completely and there is rather a lot of debris from the work of various artists here, as well as items from possible illegal residents, it is going to make searching for victims a monumental task.
Sgt. Kelly has said that arson is not suspected at this time, but that as the investigation is still ongoing nothing can be “ruled out.”
“This is just a tragedy, and there are no easy answers. This is not an easy task.”
As the venue had no sprinkler system, which could have helped to avert the tragic Oakland warehouse fire, the safety of this building has been called into question. City records show that there have been three allegations of code violations over the course of the past year.
“This property is a storage facility, but the owner turned it into a trash recycling center. The yard became a trash collection site, and the main building was remodeled for residential.”
Pray for all who lost loved ones in the deadly fire at a warehouse party in Oakland, CA. https://t.co/4gaKJkcFpA
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 3, 2016
Neighbors are alleged to have made numerous complaints about the warehouse, citing the fact that trash and other debris would quite often be heaped outside of it. Noel Gallo, an Oakland City councilman, said that if you complained to the manager about the garbage strewn outside that blocked both sidewalks and streets, you would be met with “attitude.” Chor N. Ng was the owner of the building, her daughter Eva Ng has said, and there were no residents that lived in the building.
Officials have now stated that there is an open investigation into the cause of the Oakland warehouse fire and that “blight” has been found. They have also said that in order for a legal concert, party, or rave to be held at the venue, a permit would have been required, something that unfortunately never happened.
If you have any information at all about survivors of the Oakland warehouse fire, please call this number: (510) 382-3000. Also, please be sure to post on the event’s Facebook page.
[Featured Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images]