Inside the Oakland Warehouse Tragedy

Firefighters walk on the roof of the Oakland warehouse that fell to violent flames last Friday night. Photo courtesy of ABC News.

On December 2nd at 11:30 PM the Ghost Ship warehouse, home to a group of young artists, some unable to afford any better housing, went up in flames and killed about 36 individuals as of latest reports. Many of the victims were young adults attending an event in the building which has now been discovered to have housed numerous building code violations and issues.

The original event that brought the group together was a party featuring the electronic act Golden Donna and about 100 individuals including minors and members of the local artist community. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is now investigating the cause of the fire, interviewing a part-owner of an associated art collective, as well as suggesting the possibility of criminal charges in the mix.

A small section of the previously standing Ghost Ship warehouse. Photo courtesy of The Ghost Ship.
The fire itself started on the first floor of the two story warehouse and Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said Saturday that the majority of the bodies were found up on the second floor, adding that the fire must have been fast-moving, contributing to the high death-toll. The staircase connecting the floor was also discovered to have been made of shaky, wooden pallets.

"Calling it a staircase gives you the idea that it was a set of stairs. It was not," Danielle Boudreaux, a past friend of the warehouse’s owners said to reporters after the fire. "It was random pieces of wood put together to create something that you could get up to the top floor on. As soon as you stepped on it, it wobbled all over the place."

The building is also reported to have had little heat and infrequent water and electricity, as well as being cluttered with old furniture, rugs, paintings, statues, and other items, all of which would have made perfect fire-fodder for a fast-moving, powerful blaze.

As social media around the nation has reacted to the event, family members and friends of the dead have posted tributes of their loved ones, many citing the talent, passion, and energy they had brought into the world, and stories of lives cut short for all the wrong reasons.

Oakland sports teams have also responded with charity programs to support the families of those lost to the fire, The Oakland Athletics baseball team, Golden State Warriors basketball team, and Oakland Raiders football team have all joined in on the cause.

Our hearts go out to all affected by this horrific disaster. If readers would like to pitch in to the Oakland sports teams’ fundraiser, click here. To the victims, rest easy. You will be remembered for the light and love you brought into the world, and the legacy you’ve left behind.