Nine Confirmed Dead; 40 Expected; Dozens Missing in Oakland Rave Party Inferno

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The Ghost Ship Warehouse, a converted loft space used by local artists as studios, erupted in flames Friday night at the height of a dance party that left nine confirmed dead and at least 32 others missing.

Firefighters are utilizing cadaver dogs and robots with the search for remains focused on the second floor of the 31st Avenue Warehouse, as most of the dead were unable to escape the fast moving, all consuming, inferno.

During posted Twitter reports the Oakland Firefighters posted reports of the “Fire through the roof, Command request all units out of building, going defensive.” It was at this point the structure was too compromised to continue fighting the fire from the interior.

Before the fire erupted, at 11:30pm PST Friday evening, the second floor of The Ghost Ship, was the social hub, countless guests in the artists friendly, communal work space had migrated to the upper floor.

Survivors are telling horror stories of the only exit from the second floor, where the search for the missing is focused, a single file, narrow, steep ramp with pegs sticking out of the wall as footholds, then turning into a wobbly and unsteady set of stairs.

The Ghost Ship was filled an antique lover’s nirvana. Artfully and tastefully decorated with artifacts closer to mid-20th century and earlier. It was used to store these wonderful handcrafted artisan pieces while blending the free bohemian spirit and designs of the 1960’s.

The Ghost ship had not modernized. There were no sprinklers, fire alarms or other mandated building safety codes. Until recently, it had operated somewhat under the radar, keeping a low profile the owners and operators had managed to skirt the City Inspectors who recently, in mid-November, opened a compliant file as neighbors reported a trash build up.

This isn’t the first party held at the Warehouses as a recent Halloween Party show thousands dancing to a DJ.  Pre-fire photos of what was the inside of the Ghost Ship can be seen here.

Arson investigators have already labeled the fire as suspicious and are almost sure it has human origins although not necessarily intentional.

This is a developing story

Lead image from Oakland Firefighters Twitter Videos and used with permission: Credit @OaklandFireLive

 

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