OAKLAND, CA – New developments in the investigation of the Oakland warehouse fire, considered one of the worst fires in California’s history.
Among the 36 who perished in last Friday’s fire is 21-year old Filipina-American, Vanessa Quintos Plotkin, from Lakewood, CA. She and a friend were attending an unauthorized electronic dance party at the Ghost Ship warehouse when the fire broke out.
City officials reveal that there were multiple complaints over the years about the warehouse’s building, which had not been inspected in 30 years. No applications for permits were submitted during that time.
Complainants have reported that the area, along with its adjacent lot, is an eyesore – littered with old cars, oil containers, pests and trash.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although authorities say there is no evidence that the fire was deliberately set.
As the city mourns this tragic incident, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley vowed to prosecute those who may be responsible.
“I want to express our deepest condolences to those family members who lost loved ones in this fire, and to offer support to not only their families and their friends, but to those individuals who experienced the horrors of this fire and survived,” O’Malley said. “We’re looking at two things: one is, whether or not there is any criminal liability attached to this fire; and secondly, if there is criminal liability, against whom?”
Officials say the fire started on the first floor.
“There were two internal stairwells from the second floor to the first floor,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder. “Neither of these stairwells led to an exit from the building. Smoke travelled up the stairwells, trapping the occupants on the second floor.”