On December 2nd, 2016, a devastating fire broke out in an Oakland, California warehouse killing 36 people. The warehouse, named, the Ghostship, put on small concerts and housed as many as 18 people.
The fire broke out at around 11:20 pm, during an electronic concert. There is no confirmed cause of the fire at this point, but one report claimed the fire was caused by a refrigerator. This theory was declined by authorities. The fire is now known as the deadliest fire
to ever have happened in Oakland and the deadliest fire in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The warehouse had no fire sprinkles, was extremely cluttered, and only had one exit down a makeshift stairway therefore leading to a large casualty rate. The only people that were able to escape were those on the second floor as they crawled under all of the smoke to the exit which was on the first floor.
The Ghostship was an artist collective, which is a group of artists who work together, who are under their own management and have shared aims. Within the Ghostship artists could share equipment and space, and it as often praised for its ability to bring together Bay Area artists. The building did not have permits for entertainment uses. Under a previous owner, the building had been under investigation by the Oakland Planning and Building department for “blight” and “illegal interior construction.” Despite these allegations, many feel the Ghostship and its inhabitants were unfairly judged for attending the concert after the fire, due to Oakland’s severe lack of affordable housing and business areas, and the inevitable desperation for the such because of this. Many local artists have spoken out in support of the Ghostship, with local concerts working to raise funds to help this displaced after the fire. Notably, Green Day appeared at a San Francisco fundraiser for the Ghostship and had an intimate concert for supporters of the cause.
By Nathan Moore