Oakland fire chief on leave after Ghost Ship fire
As SFist notes, in the Oakland Fire Department's document summary, they have records of EMS calls in June and September of 2015, and one in June 2016, six months before the fire. Oakland fire officials have yet to announce the cause of the blaze.
And it should have been no surprise to police that illegal party activity was happening inside the collective of artist studios.
The captain's account and numerous others were released Wednesday after Oakland officials, under threat of a lawsuit by this newspaper group, made public more than 600 pages of documents related to the deadly fire that killed 36 people in the Ghost Ship warehouse. Since 1999, there were 23 code enforcement inspections and 16 visits by the fire department to the warehouse.
The report says the warehouse was used for illegally shared housing and that police advised both the tenant and the landlord of their legal obligation.
One record showed that early on the morning of March 1, 2015, an Oakland Police officer responded to an illegal rave with drug and alcohol sales at the warehouse. OPD arrived at the warehouse following a 911 call saying that there were "15 people barricaded" inside, and the caller "heard sounds like a tazer [sic] and threatening remarks". So far no charges have been filed against the building owner or the master tenant, Derick Ion Almena. The officer noted no citations were issued.
The fire broke out December 2 during a dance party and quickly ripped through the cluttered warehouse, which had been converted to artists' studios and illegal living spaces. The blaze spread quickly through the cluttered warehouse, which was described by residents as a deattrap-littereded with electrical cords and driftwood and equipped with few exists.
Other records related to the fire were withheld because of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. As the crew opened the station's truck bay to drive to the scene just 100 yards away, they could see smoke pouring from the Ghost Ship building.
There also was no mention of a building inspector having ever physically entered the actual warehouse structure for an inspection. Reed is on leave for an unspecified reason.
Property records indicated the building is owned by a trust managed by Chor N. Ng of Oakland.
The most recent violation was issued for trash and hazardous materials piling up on the property, and suspicion of people living there. City officials were in the process of investigating the complaint when the fire broke out.
The Oakland fire department has come under tremendous scrutiny for what many consider negligence in the inspection of the property, despite complaints about safety conditions.
The city said it could find no records of commercial inspections of the Ghost Ship by the Oakland fire department.
Erica Terry Derryck, a spokeswoman for Mayor Libby Schaaf, said Wednesday that city police officers "are not trained to be building inspectors". "Police responded and stood by while everyone left the warehouse", he wrote.