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Ghost Ship Fire Reportedly Came After Dozens of Visits From Officials

Image: Ghost Ship Fire Reportedly Came After Dozens of Visits From Officials

An Oakland police officer guards the area in front of the art collective warehouse known as the Ghost Ship in the aftermath of a fire on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 11:53 AM

The Ghost Ship warehouse was visited by Oakland officials "dozens of times" before 36 people lost their lives in a deadly fire there, according to new documents released by Oakland authorities.

The Oakland Police Department alone responded to 35 calls for service to three addresses associated with the warehouse, KGO-TV reported. The documents also revealed that several city agencies also visited the warehouse.

The old warehouse had been operating as a live-in space for artists and others looking for inexpensive rent for several years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The warehouse, though, was running as a living space without permits and was described by the newspaper as a "cluttered maze with jury-rigged electrical wiring."

The Oakland fire department has been criticized in the days following the fire for not knowing about the activities at the Ghost Ship despite being two blocks away, the Chronicle noted.

The new documents said police officers made it into the building about a dozen times investigating crimes such as stabbing, assaults, burglaries, thefts, and narcotics-related incidents, KGO-TV reported.

In March 2015, officers responded to an illegal party at the warehouse, where drugs were reportedly sold, but no arrests were made, according to the television station.

The deadly fire happened during a dance party at the warehouse on Dec. 3, where the blaze spread through the illegal construction inside, suffocating those who were in the building, KNTV reported.

Numerous complaints had been lodged against the property owner, a trust managed by Chor N. Ng of Oakland, one as recently as Nov. 14 for "housing habitability," KNTV reported, citing City of Oakland property records.

City officials were investigating the complaint, which involved an illegal interior building structure, when the December fire broke out, according to the station.

The documents refuted earlier statements by city officials who said Oakland building inspectors had not been in the building in 30 years.

"I strongly believe that sunshine helps light the path forward," Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said about the document release. "Our impacted community deserves to know all the facts about this tragedy."

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The Ghost Ship warehouse was visited by Oakland officials dozens of times before 36 people lost their lives in a deadly fire there, according to new documents released by Oakland authorities.
ghost ship, fire, warehouse, visited
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2017-53-09
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 11:53 AM
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