by KHALANI GARAY
Friday, December 2, 2016, marked the day of one of the worst fires in modern California history. The fire took place at an old abandoned warehouse, located in Oakland, California and was known as “The Ghost Ship” to many of its residents. The death toll has reached to nearly thirty-six people. The leaseholder, Derick Ion Almena, was away at the time of the fire. So far, of the thirty-six confirmed dead, the list includes teenagers, a deputy’s son, and three people visiting from outside the United States. Twenty-two victims have been absolutely identified, ten have been tentatively identified, and three require scientific identification, city officials confirmed in a statement. So far, nearly eighty-five percent of the warehouse has been searched and battalion chief, Robert Lipp, from the Oakland Fire Department said he did not anticipate the death toll to rise.
The warehouse was known as a safe haven and a refuge from Oakland’s skyrocketing rent for many residents and aspiring artists there. An estimated twenty to twenty-five lived in the warehouse, residents confirmed. At one point, the leaseholder, his wife, and children were living there as well. On Friday, the day of the fire, flames raced through the cluttered building during a concert and dance party on the second floor. City officials said there were no sprinklers throughout the whole building. During their investigations, they discovered many of the bodies were almost protecting each other from the fire. Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley, said it was way too early to determine if anyone will face criminal charges in the case. “The range of charges could be murder all the way to involuntary manslaughter,” she said. “We won’t know until we finish our investigation.” What started as a safe haven for many people in “The Ghost Ship”, soon turned into a deadly nightmare that no one would forget.