By Maharsh Barot, National News Writer
The atmosphere in Oakland, California is still grim in the wake of the fire that raged through its Ghost Ship warehouse on the night of December 2, 2016. According to CBS News, the location was one of many warehouses in the area that has been converted into a work and living space for artists as an artist collective, in response to high cost of living in the surrounding San Francisco area. That night, the building was host to an electronic dance party that night.
The blaze went up in a relatively short amount of time, trapping partygoers inside. 36 people are confirmed to be dead as a result, with only some currently identified. The cause of the fire is unknown as of December 10. An investigation is underway to determine what started the fire, as well as the identities of the deceased.
The artist collective, known as the Satya Yuga, was run by married couple Derick Ion Almena and Micah Allison, who were not present at the time of the fire, according to CBS News. The couple has a history of trouble with substance abuse and domestic issues. The two were responsible for the most of the recent changes in the building up until the fire, and were allegedly warned that the building was unsafe. They have not yet officially made a public statement.
Now after the fire, more and more facts have been brought to light concerning the warehouse. CNN reported that the Ghost Ship warehouse had not been inspected in about 30 years. The building was reportedly not permitted to be used as a residence. There are no records of applications for permits and no open violations for the noncompliant interior work done within the main building, according to Darin Ranelletti, Oakland’s interim director of planning and building.
In addition, it appears that the city had received various complaints over the years in regards to the condition of the building and the property. According to CNN, it was said that the adjacent lot was overflowing with refuse and trash such as old cars, trash, and pests, as well as an “illegal interior structure” at the warehouse, according to recently released city records.
The Ghost Ship warehouse fire is one of the worst fires in Oakland’s history, called by President Obama in a public statement an “awful tragedy.” According to CBS News, it is the most lethal building fire in the US in more than a decade. The community continues to show their grief and support by lining the sidewalk and fences surrounding the building with flowers, sidewalk candles, and notes to pay tribute to those who needlessly lost their lives on that night.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 10th print edition.
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