OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The fire raised numerous questions. Among them is how Oakland conducts its fire inspections and just how many properties have been improperly converted into housing. KRON4 spoke with the area’s city councilman about the challenges that continue to this day.
This is what it looked like in 2016 years after when fire raced through this Oakland warehouse killing 36 partygoers. Six years later, the abandoned ghost ship still stands as a grim reminder of what can happen when a fire breaks out at an artist collective that’s been converted into housing.
“I would say some of it is still occurring but not at the level than it was before,” said City Councilmember Noel Gallo.
Gallo represents the Fruitvale district where the Ghost Ship warehouse stands. While there have been improvements, he says overcrowded and illegal housing has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the economy.
Right now, the challenge is there is a great deal of housing needs emergency for housing, and people are choosing to do many creative things to have a place to live.
With city hall funding the Fire Prevention Bureau tripled the number of fire inspectors since the Ghost Ship fire, Gallo credits the increase with the reduction in illegal and unsafe housing. However, problems remain.
A recent audit found six of 15 civilian fire inspectors and three of four supervisors did not meet minimum certification requirements.
“I’m surprised that you know, we are not training or providing making sure that the inspector has credentials to visit your home,” Gallo said.
As for the future of this property, there’s been talk of both affordable housing and a memorial, but so far nothing has happened.
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“There are interested parties on a property to tear down and build a house singing one, of course, is the unity council that’s building affordable housing in the neighborhood,” Gallo said. “They’re interested in the property but giving us really the feedback cooperation from the family their willingness to sell strollers, the amount that they’re willing to sell it for and that’s right now the holdup.”