Friday night, December 2nd, 2016, a violent fire erupted in a warehouse. The incident claimed the lives of 33 people and injured many others. According to a witness, Carmen Brito, the fire started during a concert that was taking place inside the warehouse.
State officials describe the unfortunate event as one of the worst incidents involving fire in the past decade. Due to the design of the building, the firefighters’ search for potential survivors may go on for days. The warehouse featured only two exits, trapping most of the majority inside when the structure burst into flames.
According to the local authorities, the families have already been informed about their tragic losses. In the meantime, many other relatives of the still missing persons hold their breath, waiting for updates. Not even the law enforcement’s next of kin have been spared from the cruel fate. Ray Kelly, a sergeant with the Alameda County office says that one of the victims was the son of a law enforcement agent.
Other victims that have perished in the fire gathered from several countries across Asia and Europe. At the time, the state officials are trying to get in touch with the agencies abroad. Furthermore, the police officers say that Ms. Brito and 25 other witnesses were illegally inhabiting the building. The warehouse goes by the name of Ghost Ship. Although functioning in plain view of the California authorities, the building did not have a permit to serve residency purposes. However, it could only function as a warehouse. The tenants say that they were willing to take the risks because of the cheap rent. Also, the creative community promised a great experience.
In light of these events, the law enforcement department has engaged in a full-blown criminal investigation.
According to Carmen Brito, the first witness on the scene, the inferno started in a studio, at the back of the building. Firefighters tracked the source of the fire to Ms. Brito’s neighboring apartment. Upon arriving on the scene, the firefighters asked Carmen Brito if her neighbors have recently installed a refrigerator. To her knowledge, the couple did install a refrigerating machine, which could have been the source of the fire, according to the state officials.
However, these are only speculations at the moment. Nevertheless, a short circuit could be at fault for the disaster. Moreover, Nikki Kelber, another tenant says that Ms. Brito and she have asked the owner multiple times to update the electrical system in the past. However, it did not happen.
The warehouse did feature fire extinguishers. Max Ohr, one of the residents says that using them on the raging flames had no effect whatsoever.
“It was like trying to put out a bonfire with a squirt gun”, says Carmen Brito.
The Ghost Ship was an illegal living space that used to house artists. Among them, dancers, metalworkers, musicians, and others used to live and work in the warehouse. According to recent visitors, the structure was a ticking bomb, bound for disaster. Mainly because broken pianos and pieces of wood were resting on top of generators and loose electrical cords.
Image Source: Flickr