An Oakland fire broke out Saturday night, Dec. 3, during a concert. The building was a warehouse home to artists who cannot afford rent. The housing was scheduled to be inspected in the few weeks before the fire. The fire has resulted in so far, thirty-six deaths. This fire is believed to be the deadliest fire in Oakland, California history.
At the time of the fire, there were fifty to one hundred people in the warehouse. The warehouse lacked sprinklers and clear exits. The cause of the fire is believed to be something related to the construction that was going on in the building. The city had not approved any construction and, they had no permit. A former resident reported that they stayed in the warehouse and were surrounded by drugs and filth. Mack, another former resident stated, “It’s that we lived in there in uninhabitable conditions. It looks nice. It makes for nice pictures. But that place is a death trap.” Given these reasons, the police are reporting that there will be possible charges from manslaughter to murder in this case.
Al Garcia, a neighbor to the warehouse, said he found two teenagers outside sitting on the sidewalk crying. They informed him that it was a party or concert, and they were the last ones to get out. Garcia said the teenagers stated that they were on the second floor when they heard people running. They got out, and nobody came out behind them. By the time the firefighters had arrived at the scene, the staircase had already burned away.
Derick Ion Almena was the owner of the building. Since all thirty-six fatalities were reported, he stated, “It was a strange place. It was beautiful. There were all these Balinese beds and all kinds of crazy wooden sculptures, and the whole downstairs was a maze to get through.” He also stated, “I’m only here to say one thing- that I’m incredibly sorry and that everything I did was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together.”
Within the week the police should release the final fatality count. They should also release if any charges will be filled. One thing if for sure; Oakland lost some of its most talented artists, filmmakers, and musicians.