2016 Oakland warehouse fire
|Time||11:30 p.m. (PST)|
|Date||December 2, 2016|
|Venue||Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse|
|Location||1305 31st Avenue, Oakland, California, U.S.|
|Coordinates||37°46′40″N 122°13′38″W / 37.777743°N 122.227117°WCoordinates: 37°46′40″N 122°13′38″W / 37.777743°N 122.227117°W|
|Missing||At least 25|
On December 2, 2016, at around 11:30 p.m., a fire broke out in a converted warehouse that served as an artist collective in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California. The 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) building was also called the Oakland Ghost Ship. At the time of the fire, the warehouse was hosting a concert sponsored by electronic dance music record label 100% Silk and headlined by electronic musician Golden Donna.
The fire, which killed at least 24 people, was one of the deadliest single-structure fires in the history of Oakland, as well as the city's worst fire since 1991.
The fire started in a 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) converted warehouse, known locally as the Oakland Ghost Ship. It took four to five hours for 52 firefighters to extinguish the blaze. The effort involved 11 fire engines and three fire trucks. A search of the building was impeded when the roof collapsed. Drone aircraft were deployed to search for survivors using thermal imaging, but none were found.
Multiple factors may have contributed to the loss of life. There were no fire sprinklers in the building, and firefighters on scene heard no smoke detectors. Upon entering the building, firefighters found it was cluttered with furniture, art, and mannequins; Oakland Fire Department Chief Teresa Deloach Reed told reporters, "It was like a maze, almost." Deloach Reed said that it appeared that the only exit to the second floor was a makeshift stairway made of stacked wooden pallets. The stairway was instantly incinerated in the blaze, trapping victims inside.
Around 50 people were present in the building at the time of the fire, and at least 24 were reported dead by police. Twenty-five others are reportedly missing. Officials are expecting the number of deaths to be closer to 40. Few serious but non-lethal injuries were reported; Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly said, "It appears that people either made it out, or they didn’t make it out." A representative from Oakland's Highland Hospital reported receiving two patients, one of whom has been discharged.
Of the musicians scheduled to perform at the concert, only two — headliner Golden Donna (the stage name for musician Joel Shanahan) and Aja Archuleta — were confirmed to have escaped the fire. Two other musicians on the bill, Outsider house artist Cherushii (Chelsea Faith) and disk jockey Nackt (Johnny Igaz) were listed as missing.
The fire was one of the deadliest single-structure fires in the history of Oakland, the worst fire in the city since the 1991 Oakland firestorm, and the deadliest event in Oakland since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Before the fire, the building had already been under investigation by the Oakland Planning and Building Department for structural deficiencies. A spokesperson for the department noted that an event like Friday night's concert would have required a special permit, but none had been issued. Complaints of hazardous garbage and construction debris around the building had also been made. The city is investigating whether people were living in the warehouse illegally.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf referred to the fire as "an immense tragedy". California governor Jerry Brown issued a statement extending his condolences. Congressperson Barbara Lee expressed sympathy for the victims and gratitude to the firefighters and first responders, and promised support in securing any needed federal assistance. The Oakland A's baseball team offered to match donations for those affected, up to $30,000; the Oakland Raiders football team soon joined them. A Facebook Safety Check was deployed to help people find the whereabouts of friends and family who might have been in attendance.
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- "The Latest: City started investigating warehouse weeks ago". SFGate. December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Allison Weeks (December 3, 2016). "Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaks about deadly Oakland warehouse fire". KRON 4. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Oakland A's (December 3, 2016). "THANK YOU to every Oakland A's fan for helping us support our community.". Twitter. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
We will now match to $30,000.
- Oakland A's (December 3, 2016). "The @RAIDERS are joining us in relief of the #OaklandFire and will also be matching and donating up to $30,000.". Twitter. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Brandon Mercer (December 3, 2016). "Facebook Safety Check activated for Oakland Inferno that killed 9, and left 25 missing". SFGate. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Oakland Ghost Ship web site