Oakland California warehouse fire- Fox 61 Photo
Steve and I are mourning our former community, and I don’t think we will ever forget the Oakland, California warehouse fire that occurred Friday night. The Oakland Fire Dept fears that dozens may have died ( 24 now) in the massive fire that swept through the Fruitvale area warehouse. We once lived in a former cardboard factory in Oakland where I can tell you that– you don’t need drug abuse to cause a problem when a lot of caring creative and artistic people gather together to listen to music.
People live in Oakland warehouses because it’s the only way to get reasonable square footage in probably the most expensive real estate market in the country. The Fruitvale district where the fire occurred is not the Pearl of the Adriatic, believe me. Trendy parts of Oakland now boast a medium home value of at least $700,000, and it goes up by double digits every single year. The high cost of living is what causes artists to search for inexpensive lofts- and in this instance- unsafe cheap housing.
Photo- Linda Seccaspina-“Everyone Knows a Hillside Johnny”
Clearly this building should have been condemned and not open to the public. Makeshift ladders made out of wooden pallets with no fire alarms, sprinklers, smoke alarms and one exit clearly falls into the buildings that are seldom up to code. But, people need to realize that exorbitantly expensive housing will lead people to invent new methods of survival, such as the houses in San Francisco where people literally rent out a box in someone’s living room for a high price.
Photo- Linda Seccaspina –Dedicated to my Weekend Protesting Hippie Generation — Nothing Changes Does it?
I know from personal experience that a fire spreads quickly, and usually people have less than a minute to make decisions that will decide whether they live or die. Also, there was a second deadly element at play when the fire started on the first floor, near the exit and the rave was happening on the second floor. Smoke rises, and in this instance quickly becomes poisoned from the chemicals released when things burn–like artists supplies and salvage decor. I’ve been trapped in a smoke-filled space and you really do feel like death is closing in on you–and that was with an exit I could easily reach. I sadly think that the rave participants in the Oakland fire simply didn’t know there was a fire until it was too late.
I hate to admit this but– Oakland is the kind of place that if you call authorities to report your car getting broken into –or there is a loud party going on–they will be too busy dealing with one or more violent crimes. Sadly, that is just a fact of living in a high-crime area. Prayers for the families who have lost loved ones and we are mourning the Ghost Ship community.
This video dedicated to the people I miss and love.. somewhat noisy but best neighbours and friends in the world.