Three Years After Oakland’s Ghost Ship Fire

People came from all over the Bay Area for a memorial concert to mark the 36 lives lost in the Ghost Ship Fire three years earlier, reports

Ed Bernbaum, a father of fire victim Jonathan Bernbaum, spoke about Vital Arts, an organization founded to honor Ghost Ship victims and find living, working and performing space for Bay Area artists.

The evening also showcased a diversity of work from other Ghost Ship victims.

The Ghost Ship warehouse fire took place in Oakland, California, on December 2, 2016, and took the lives of 36 people. At approximately 11:24 p.m. on that date, Oakland firefighters responded to a reported fire at 1315 31st Avenue (commonly known as the Ghost Ship Warehouse). Upon arrival, fire crews found heavy smoke coming from the two-story warehouse. The building was an occupied structure divided into live/work spaces. The space was also used that evening for a music event being held on the second floor. The fire progressed to a third alarm assignment, requiring approximately 52 firefighters to bring it under control. The estimated dollar loss of the structure is $ 1,235,000. According to a report from the fire department, the building was not equipped with an automatic fire suppression system (sprinklers) or an automatic fire detection system. Several fire extinguishers were located throughout the warehouse. One battery operated smoke detector was found in the debris.

Per a release from the City of Oakland, the fire highlighted deep and complex issues that Oakland has been wrestling with as a community: the impact of the housing affordability crisis, the importance of maintaining a vibrant arts community in Oakland, and the need to ensure that our housing and public spaces are safe and habitable.

On December 8, 2016, members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) traveled to Oakland for a day of dialogue with several Oakland officials with the goal of helping the city devise a framework to help improve building, event, and life safety. Ultimately, the NFPA’s recommendations became the framework for the Fire Safety Task Force, which took steps to prioritize fire inspections based on risk, among other lifesaving measures.