Sunday, December 4, 2016
A fire broke out at a record release party in Oakland, California late on Friday night. Nine were confirmed dead the following morning with the death toll rising to 24 the next day.
The warehouse, known as Ghost Ship, was hosting a party for the release of the newest album by Joel “Golden Donna” Shanahan. It is in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, a mix of commercial and residential buildings nestled together. The structure is one block away from Fire Station No. 13 and at least 55 firefighters spent four hours containing and stopping the fire which began at approximately 11:30 p.m.
Firefighters and police cordoned off the block to spectators. The two-story, mixed-use structure also housed the artist collective Satya Yuga who hosted the show and is being searched by firefighters. Out of approximately 50 attendees, at least 25 were declared missing. Shanahan was among the survivors.
Efforts to rescue partygoers were compounded by the roof caving in during the inferno as well as the stacks of furniture, art pieces, and supplies which turned into obstacles for first responders.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf:
The structure is owned by Chor N. Ng, who is also the proprietor of several other buildings in the East Bay. On November 13 Ng was cited by the city for having stacks of garbage in and around the warehouse. Most fatalities were reported to have occurred in the upstairs portion of the building where escape was hampered by unstable stairs and miscellaneous art pieces lying in the way. The building lacked any smoke detectors and sprinklers; fire extinguishers were found outside of the premises.