We continue to learn more about the Oakland warehouse fire that took place on Friday night — and it is only getting worse as we follow up on reports.
As we know, the death toll was expected to rise sharply from the fire as first responders finally made their way into the building this morning, and it appears that the total number of dead may be even higher than expected.
According to a report in the New York Times, the death toll is currently at 24 people (up from nine victims as of yesterday), and yet first responders have still only searched somewhere around one-fifth of the entire building.
Not only that, but officials told the Times that they don’t yet believe they are even close to where the fire started — and they expect many, many more bodies as they are able to search deeper into the structure.
And the building — an artistic, commune-type living and work space known as the Oakland Ghost Ship — is coming under controversy more and more for the allegedly un-permitted activities and construction that took place there in the past.
Now, though, we are getting a look at what these underground concerts and performances inside the building looked like, including a video from an earlier EDM performance that went down there in June.
Whoa — definitely a unique space, but as we are learning, it also turned out to be a dangerous one.
In The Daily Beast, a man named Michael Rosen shares his tale of being at the Ghost Ship on Friday night, and it sounds like a scary, foreboding moment before he was able to get out safe.
Rosen writes, in part:
“The only way to the second floor of the warehouse known as the Ghost Ship was up one wood plank.
The makeshift staircase was so steep that I had to plant my feet on small notches, no more than an inch high, to stop from slipping down the incline. It felt unsteady as I walked up it on Friday night to check out the party upstairs hosted by the art collective Satya Yuga, a group of artists that builds spaces for festivals like Burning Man. Up there my friends and I saw a woman getting her nails painted. There was a DJ booth, music playing, a few people dancing. Mostly, it was people just hanging out.
Downstairs, the space was packed with wooden pieces of artwork. There were wooden accents on the walls, a wooden ship’s wheel. The space was subdivided into rooms with walls made of aged, dried-out wood. Chairs were scattered on the sides with Persian rugs in between them.”
It’s all made worse by knowing how, almost certainly, officials will deliver far worse news that what we even know now as they are able to gain access further inside the building.
Sending out our thoughts and prayers doesn’t even begin to express our condolences.
[Image via Darin Marshall/Facebook.]