One of the deadliest structure fires in the last 10 years just decimated a two-story converted warehouse in Oakland, California on Friday night during an electronic dance party. The death toll is currently at 24 at the time of me writing this, but Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office says the death toll will most certainly rise in the coming days as 80% of the building still needs to be searched.
Per the New York Times,
The building, which they described as “a labyrinth of artist studios,” had been under investigation for several months. They said escape from the building, which had only two exits, might have been complicated because the first and second floors were linked by an ad hoc staircase made of wooden pallets.
By Saturday afternoon, a list of those missing, compiled by friends and family, had grown to about 35 people.
As friends and family await the imminent fate of their loved ones, Derick Ion, the man who ran the art commune, took to Facebook to
express his sympathies whine about something a bit more petty: his ruined warehouse.
It must really suck to have something you’ve poured your career into go up in flames overnight, so I feel for Derick on that level. But this is obscenely petty when you consider that the death toll will likely rise to 50+ and the venue was likely violating numerous city codes.
City officials also had not signed off on a special permit for the event, Ranelletti said. In addition, firefighters found no evidence of sprinklers in the warehouse.
Last month the warehouse’s owners had received notification of city code violations for hazardous trash and debris, property records show. Officials had not yet completed an investigation into a November complaint for an illegal interior building structure. [via CNN]
The people of the internet were not sympathetic to Ion’s tone-deaf complaint.
The sheriff’s department has said criminal charges for the fire are possible, but no suspects have been named yet.