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

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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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