Tags: US | Warehouse | Party | Fire | San Diego

Oakland Officials Started Investigating Warehouse Weeks Ago

Image: Oakland Officials Started Investigating Warehouse Weeks Ago

 (AP)

Saturday, 03 Dec 2016 05:59 PM

The city of Oakland started investigating nearly three weeks ago whether people were illegally living in a warehouse destroyed by a fire late Friday night. At least nine people died.

Darin Ranelletti, of the City of Oakland Planning Department, says the city had received reports of people living illegally in the building, which was only permitted as a warehouse. They opened an investigation on Nov. 13. He says an investigator went to the premises on Nov. 17 but could not gain access to the inside of the building

Ranelletti says they had not yet confirmed people were living inside. Photos posted online of the warehouse -- called the "Oakland Ghost Ship" - showed pictures of a bohemian, loft-like interior made of wood and cluttered with beds, rugs, old sofas, pianos, paintings, turntables, statues and other items.

Neighbors had complained of trash piling up outside the property and concerns the garbage posed a danger, according to the city's Planning and Building Department website.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that he and his wife, Anne, were saddened to hear about the deadly blaze.

In the statement Saturday he said: "Our thoughts are with the entire city in this difficult time and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of those lost."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a separate statement calling the fire "an immense tragedy."

Authorities say they fear up to 40 people might have died in the fire at a warehouse converted into artist studios that was hosting an electronic dance party.

Rescue crews were combing through wreckage and still trying to access parts of the warehouse mid-day Saturday.

Authorities say arson investigators and other fire experts will comb through the wreckage of a deadly fire in Oakland, California, but the burn site is not considered a crime scene.

Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly says Saturday that fire investigations must start out looking at worst-case scenarios.

The blaze broke out about 11:30 p.m. Friday. Authorities are working to verify who was in the building when the blaze broke out.

Terry Ewing says his girlfriend was at the party and is missing. He went to a sheriff's office building Saturday to await information. He says he didn't know about the party and that he learned of the fire from friends who came to his house.

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The city of Oakland started investigating nearly three weeks ago whether people were illegally living in a warehouse destroyed by a fire late Friday night. At least nine people died.Darin Ranelletti, of the City of Oakland Planning Department, says the city had received...
US, Warehouse, Party, Fire, San Diego
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2016-59-03
Saturday, 03 Dec 2016 05:59 PM
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