Ware­house death toll at 33

Vic­tims range from teenagers to over 30; fa­cil­ity rarely had wa­ter

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Kristin J. Bender and Brian Melley

oak­land, calif.» The death toll from a fire that tore through a ware­house host­ing a late-night dance party climbed to 33 on Sun­day as fire­fight­ers painstak­ingly combed through rub­ble for oth­ers be­lieved to still be miss­ing.

Less than half of the charred re­mains of the partly col­lapsed struc­ture had been searched, and crews clear­ing de­bris were ex­pected to find more bod­ies as they ad­vanced, Alameda County Sher­iff ’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Of­fi­cials said they have iden­ti­fied seven peo­ple who were killed.

Among them is Donna Kel­logg, ac­cord­ing to her fa­ther, Keith Slocum. He de­clined to com­ment.

Kelly said those killed range in age from teenagers to 30-plus years old.

Anx­ious fam­ily mem­bers who feared the worst gath­ered at the sher­iff’s of­fice to await word on their loved ones. They were told they may have to pro­vide DNA sam­ples to help iden­tify re­mains.

The build­ing known as the “Ghost Ship” had been carved into artist stu­dios and was an il­le­gal home for a ro­tat­ing cast of a dozen or more peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to for­mer denizens who said it was a clut­tered death trap with few ex­its, piles of wood and a mess of snaking elec­tric cords.

“If you were go­ing there for a party, you wouldn’t be aware of the maze that you have to go through to get out,” said Danielle Boudreaux, a for­mer friend of the cou­ple who ran the ware­house.

As many as 100 peo­ple were there for a party Fri­day night when the fire broke out just be­fore mid­night. Fire of­fi­cials were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the blaze, but they said clut­ter fu­eled the flames, there were no sprin­klers in­side and few ex­its to es­cape.

Boudreaux iden­ti­fied the op­er­a­tors of the Satya Yuga col­lec­tive as Der­ick Ion Al­mena and Micah Al­li­son.

She had a fall­ing out with Al­mena when she con­vinced Al­li­son’s par­ents and sis­ter about a year ago that the ware­house was a dan­ger­ous place for the cou­ple’s three chil­dren to live.

The cou­ple rented out five recre­ational ve­hi­cles and other nooks on the ground floor as liv­ing spa­ces. A rick­ety makeshift stair­case led to a se­cond floor where con­certs were held. For­mer res­i­dents said there fre­quently was no elec­tric­ity or run­ning wa­ter.

Oak­land plan­ning of­fi­cials opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion last month af­ter re­peated com­plaints from neigh­bors who said trash was pil­ing up and peo­ple were il­le­gally liv­ing in the build­ing zoned as a ware­house.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.