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Oakland “artists” more worried about crackdowns on their firetraps than 36 deaths

December 5, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:Wooden: Fire fighters had a difficult time getting inside due to massive amounts of clutter. The interior of the warehouse before the fire is pictured above in an undated photoOakland’s arty tinderbox: Firefighters couldn’t even find the bodies in the junk

Here, from the San Jose Mercury News, is the strangest story to emerge from the ghastly Dec. 2 fire that has claimed the lives of at least 33 people partying in a dilapidated warehouse in Oakland, Calif.:

“As they grieved for friends killed in the inferno at the Ghost Ship warehouse on 31st Avenue, artists, musicians and partygoers from east to west Oakland couldn’t help but worry about a backlash of building inspections at other warehouse collectives.

“’There’s going to be a draconian overreaction to shut everything down,’ said Dunn, 42, who has attended events at the collective in the Fruitvale neighborhood. ‘That would only add to the tragedy.’

“’People are getting worried (the fire) is gonna be used against us,’ said Katelyn Charvoz, of West Oakland. The 25-year-old said she’s been involved in the music/party scene since she was about 15. ‘The city’s gonna paint us as some ugly, crusty, punk kids that are up to no good. If they buy up all the warehouses on every street and kick everyone out, it will just hurt the arts community here.’”

***

Now for a more details about the vibrant  “collective” that in minutes turned into a towering inferno–from the U.K. Daily Mail:

“Visitors have described a squalid scene where cat faeces and used condoms litter the limited floor space, junk and ‘art’ is piled high in every room, nails protrude from stairs made out of old pallets, brick work crumbles in the walls and drug use rife among the party goers who came and went….

“The property has received 10 complaints over the past 10 years, the most recent involving a makeshift stairwell and un-permitted construction….

“The eccentric building operator created an indoor ‘RV park’ downstairs charging residents $500 a month per person and would also make money renting the space for parties.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen
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3 Comments
  1. Brilliant. Could not link to your original blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum, though, no matter how many times I tried. I just went there on my own.

    • So sorry–I’ll check the link, which may be bad. So delighted you liked the piece.

      • I thought it was great. I was able to share it with a few people who thought that this event would unfairly target other warehouses. My question was what is inherently unfair about it? People DIED!!! Clearly I need new friends with different priorities.

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