Oakland Ghost Ship Fire–Personal Thoughts

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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.

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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.

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Photo- Linda SeccaspinaDedicated 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.

Owner of Oakland warehouse says no one lived in building, daughter says

This video dedicated to the people I miss and love.. somewhat noisy but best neighbours and friends in the world. 

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. thank you for your insights, Linda. You nailed it in terms of lack of affordable housing in the bay area forcing artists to roam like nomads from one condemned building to the next. Cities who care about their artists don’t abandon them the way SF has done. It is the richest city in America with brilliant minds creating technology to connect us as humans yet the tragic irony is that tech community has turned its back on the very people/art who inspire them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lorie… so many talented people.. so much crap.. warehouses that legally fixed up their buildings still shut down by the city for something. You are so right about the tech community.. they should be so ashamed:( Thank you for commenting. HUGGGGGGGGG

      Like

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