Unstable Staircase Was Sole Way out of Deadly Oakland Fire

Oakland fire chief (Josh Edelson / Associated Press)
Josh Edelson / Associated Press

The “Ghost Ship” warehouse, where the deadly Oakland fire broke out during a party around 11:30 p.m. on Friday evening, reportedly only had one second-floor exit, down an unstable staircase made of pallets.

A man named Michael Rosen was one of the survivors of Friday night’s tragedy. He penned a piece in the Daily Beast, where he noted that “[t]he only way to the second floor of the building known as the Ghost Ship was up one wood plank.”

The warehouse, known as the “Ghost Ship,” was a concrete warehouse in the Oakland flats where artists lived and worked. The area has become increasingly unaffodrable as a result of creeping gentrification in the Bay Area.

The Associated Press reported that while officials have confirmed nine deaths, they fear up to 40 people might have died in the building.

The blaze is turning out to potentially be the deadliest fire in Oakland’s history.

According to the East Bay Times, the fire tore through the two-story building in the 1300 block of 31st Avenue, at International Boulevard, at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday during an event featuring musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk West Coast tour.

Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly reportedly said emergency responders were prepared Saturday night for a “mass casualty event” that could involve “several dozen fatalities.” The East Bay Times further note on Saturday night that “several dozen” people who were initially reported missing have since been located and are safe.

According to Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed, the building did not have a clear exit path and the the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell built from pallets.

Authorities are working to verify who was in the building when the blaze broke out. In a statement released on Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown reportedly said “Our thoughts are with the entire city in this difficult time and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of those lost.”

The Golden State Warriors basketball team held a moment of silence during their Saturday night game and the Oakland Raiders football team will do the same before their 1 p.m. game on Sunday.

A woman with the Oakland Sheriff’s Department’s Coroner’s office told Breitbart News on Saturday night: “We don’t have an identities yet on the victims of the fire.”

According to the AP, Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said there were between 50 and 100 people at the warehouse at the time of the fire. She added that some people escaped.

Social media users took the opportunity to blast the mainstream media over their apparent lack of coverage:

One user, in particular, used the tragedy to highlight the viriulent gentrification that has overtaken the city:

Anyone who is concerned about their loved ones should call 510-238-7230.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz


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