- A fire broke out Friday night at an illegally tenanted warehouse in Oakland, CA, leaving at least 33 dead with only 35-40% of the site cleared as of Sunday afternoon, according to an NPR report.
- The fire broke out during a crowded party in a 4,000 square foot warehouse riddled with fire hazards and a single rickety, non-regulation staircase.
- Well-known in the neighborhood, the warehouse, nicknamed "The Ghost Ship," was under investigation for its numerous safety violations and for offering illegal living spaces for artists, SF Gate reported Sunday.
As the death toll climbs in the aftermath of the Ghost Ship fire, no cause has been officially determined. The fire allegedly began during a musical performance, leaving many party-goers stranded on the upper floor of the building.
Fire department staff report a lack of sprinklers, smoke detectors, and emergency exits. Party-goers who managed to escape describe the pre-fire building as chaotic and disorganized. Some attempted to rescue stranded friends and strangers by reentering the building despite the heat, smoke and flames. Many friends and family members of the missing remain at the scene.
Off-label or misclassified use of the space is being cited as the reason behind the tragedy. The building, located in an industrial zone, was certified for use as a warehouse but was being used as a living space and expo for artists.
No supply chain operated through the Ghost Ship, but the building's supposed suitability for warehouse use serves as a reminder that even safety-compliant structures carry large risks. Fire hazard control is of utmost importance to protect lives and property.