Oakland fire

Oakland residents who live near the warehouse where 33 people were confirmed dead in a fire early Saturday say the tragedy could have been avoided.

City officials confirmed previous investigations into complaints about the warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. The structure was not zoned for parties or as a residential property.

Over the years, neighbors complained to city and fire officials that the Ghost Ship venue and art collective was an illegal live/work space.

A neighbor said the property did not have hot water, central heating or a kitchen. Other residents complained about trash piling up on the property and fire code violations. There were no smoke detectors or a sprinkler system inside the warehouse.

Derick Ion Almena

Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo, who lives a block away from the warehouse, told the East Bay Times, "We were reporting the issues when it came to the illegal dumping, creating the rooms, no permits".

The fire broke out around 11:30 pm at an electronic music rave party for artists and musicians on Friday, Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed confirmed. About 50-100 people attended the party.

She said firefighters who arrived to battle the blaze were hindered by a massive amount of clutter, including furniture, art, statues, mannequins, a coffin and other junk.

"It was filled end to end with furniture, collections, and whatnot," said Deloach-Reed.

"It was like a maze almost."

Derick Ion Almena

Nine bodies were recovered from the 2nd floor on Saturday.

A makeshift staircase of stacked wooden pallets made it difficult for the victims to escape. "We know it was going to be difficult if it started anywhere near that stairwell," she said.

The search for more bodies continued on Sunday after the building was stabilized. The building was not safe to enter because the fire caused the roof to collapse onto the 2nd floor, which collapsed onto the first floor.

Facebook users vented their anger at Derick Ion Almena, the artist who leased the warehouse and lived there with his wife, Micah, their 3 children, and 18 artists and musicians.

Almena published a post soon after the fire broke out, bemoaning the loss of his material possessions.

"Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound," he wrote early Saturday.

He added: "it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope... to be standing now in poverty of self worth."

Outraged Facebook users noted Almena's lack of remorse about the lives lost.

"40 people are dead and this is your response, really?" wrote Lauren Stephens.

Trevor Shane added: 'Only someone who would be worried about their s**t burning in this kind of situation is the kind of person who would run an unkempt, unsafe space. So shocked that you are mad about your s**t burning".

Sadie McFarlane wrote: "Let me add my name to the list of those who think you deserve to die in the same manner as those who had their lives brutally snuffed out by your lack of concern. You horrible, horrible person."

A family friend complained to Child Protective Services about the Almena children's safety, and the children were sent to live with relatives for about 6 months. But Almena and Micah regained custody of them.

Micah and the children were staying at a hotel during the rave party.

Hanna Henriikka Ruax and Alex Ghassan

Hanna Henriikka Ruax (left) and Alex Ghassan (right) are among the missing.

Oakland resident May Dolan told the Daily Mail UK tabloid that her sister, Chelsea Faith, was performing on the 1st floor when the fire started on the second floor.

Dolan still doesn't know if her sister is among the bodies still trapped in the debris.

A previous version of this post was edited to update the rising death toll.

  • Cricket404

    I wonder if they were using pyrotechnics inside. RIP, such a tragedy.

  • hotntot95

    I've been trying my best to avoid this post...this shit is sad..it brings my entire spirit down..?

  • hotntot95

    Fire crackers...good question

  • JerseyMom

    Has this fool been arrested?

  • Sexy CJ
  • PrettyBrown28

    Seriously.

  • BRING THE PAYNE

    Good evening CJ.....

  • Sexy CJ
  • T3

    So dude is just going to act like his "stuff" is all that's worth a mention???? Yeah, OK you piece of ?

  • pecancandy

    Stopped reading at coffin, condolences to the families.

  • Allihave2say

    Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Matthew 5;4 Blessed are those that mourn; for they shall be comforted.

    How sweet of you and those who dared enter this post to be heavy ladened at heart by the loss of strangers. While their bodies aren't here to witness your compassion their spirits do and are comforted. To have a heart for others, whom you've never seen says a lot about who you are. I am fortunate in that you've shown me who you are and I believe you; a person who cares. Stand bright. The world needs more people like you.

  • Incog-knee-gress

    No arrest bc from my understanding an Asian woman owned building. He just the building super. Not sure if this is true

  • bella28498 .

    This is why I sit my as s down and be chilling, you cant even go out and have a good time and get high without dying.

  • klwbaby

    I'm really sorry this ass wipe lost all his precious junk...I'm sure the families of the deceased will help to replace his stuff after they bury their loved ones.....

  • Lisa daniels

    They need to hurry up. This is negligent at best. Maybe involuntary manslaughter?

  • E-VannaRootsAllEvil

    Wow Derrick is a azzwipe

  • S T

    And more like you....??RIP TO DECEASED OF THIS TRAGEDY; STRENGTH TO THEIR LOVED ONES.

  • S T

    Or blowtorches as many artists do. We may never know. ?

  • i troll it like i see it

    All his precious possessions looked like a bunch of crap in a junkyard. Seriously it was like Sandord and Son. He's so selfish for worrying about that pile of chit before human life.

  • hotntot95

    ?thanks

  • Nala Shakur

    Human sacrifices..whenever I see the number 33.

  • Nala Shakur

    Tht was a little creepy to me too

  • Readytochokemothernatureonout

    Bless those families anytime is bad but holidays.....

  • violet_skyz

    Horrible

  • Molly Church

    Wow?. Hard 2 believe people were not more aware of or not concerned about this place being a "Potential Death Trap. Apparently there were no fire exists?. 1 way n & one way out?. "SAD?

  • Ni Ni

    A coffin??? This guy could be a satanist who performed some sort of ritual on the unsuspected participants. It's seems theres always a fire or mass deaths around this time of year and celeb deaths are usually high at the end of the year as well ?.

  • UncleScam

    He's rumored to be hiding and possibly attempting to flee the country. They need to pick him up and quick.

  • JerseyMom

    Yep, definitely a reckless disregard for human life and safety.

  • MScommunication

    Yea I have been reading all around it. It makes me so sad.

  • Lolalao

    Rest In Peace ?

  • Shaylove1975

    His wife and kids so happen to be at a hotel. He wasnt there either...hmmm.

  • hottlanta

    Poverty of self worth really. He is as bad as the admitted sexual predator and fraudster President elect Donald Dump. They don't get it.

  • hottlanta

    He was staying with 18 musicians and artist as well. They were probably not paying rent. Just a play to lay and get high all day. I bet that place was stinking something terrible.

  • Eviania

    We here in Oakland are mourning the loss of so many lives. The city should have shut this place down years ago. There had been many complaints but nothing done. So very very tragic.

  • MISSMEWITDATBULL

    Death toll is now at 36 and expected to rise. Such a senseless tragedy.

  • pecancandy

    Sorry for your loss

  • Mystery User

    So if the city has been involved in investigating this dwelling for more than a year, as they have been reporting, why did they not board the place up, or condemn it and move on with business?
    They were probably harassing other decent citizens about other, more attainable fines, I'm sure. I hold them just as responsible as the owner of the building.
    Love and Light to the families of the deceased

  • Rayne

    I wouldn't even be near something like that trying to party.

    Rip to the victims.

  • Tynamight

    "a coffin"?

    Wha? RIP.

  • YouWontSayItButIWill

    Just like America....we WAIT to something drastic happens before correcting the situation. Many of complaints went ignored...so the city is responsible just as much as the owner. Bless the victims...and prayers up to their families

  • Op2

    But let a group of friends enter a sports pool game or roll some dice where $$$ is involved, doors would be kicked in. -will reports and complaints about similar sketchy buildings and establishments be ignored or will the cities make an example out of them?

  • Op2

    ...and not yet arrested? But the death toll in various news article was initially reported to be 40. Then, two days later started saying it the number was at 33. Today, we are seeing it is at 36 with 9 people trapped upstairs. Yet, his 3 children who usually live there were safe at a hotel that night. -what are they really trying to say? smh

  • Op2

    Why isn't he arrested? But the death toll in various news article was initially reported to be 40. Then, two days later started saying it the number was at 33. Today, we are seeing it is at 36 with 9 people trapped upstairs. Yet, his 3 children who usually live there were safe at a hotel that night. -what are they really trying to say? smh

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    Zamn! This is horrible.

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    This guy could be a satanist who performed some sort of ritual on the unsuspected participants.

    Actually, you have no idea how true this may be.
    True Story: Many, many many years ago, I was speaking with a random man that shared he worked with the City morgue or such. Whatever the case, he said that he does NOT KNOW HOW MANY TIMES HIS CREW HAVE GONE INTO ABANDONED HOUSES after someone skipped out on rent and in the back bedroom find BODIES stacked!!
    He said it was due to devil worship.
    Why is this info NEVER in the news.............................?

  • Zeta Phi Beta 1920

    This guy could be a satanist who performed some sort of ritual on the unsuspected participants.

    Actually, you have no idea how true this may be.
    True Story: Many, many many years ago, I was speaking with a random man that shared he worked with the City morgue or such. Whatever the case, he said that he does NOT KNOW HOW MANY TIMES HIS CREW HAVE GONE INTO ABANDONED HOUSES after someone skipped out on rent and in the back bedroom find BODIES stacked!!
    He said it was due to devil worship.
    Why is this info NEVER in the news.............................?

  • Butter

    Trying to see how its The Artist fault. He didn't own the building, it wasn't his party... Am Im missing something? Its was an abandoned warehouse, the City should have condemned it. Blame him for people Dying at a Rave, High on Ecstasy... yeah its His fault!.. FOH!

  • NaeNae2015

    His family was in a hotel while this was going on. I am wondering if he sublet it out for a party.

  • Carmen

    RIP to all those who passed. I'm hearing from locals that there have been ongoing issues with this guy. He apparently treats people like sh*t and didn't have much regard for his neighbors. Apparently these type of spaces are an issue in Oakland.

  • parisjok

    hope the love ones sue the city because it was their responsibility to shut that type of building down just so this would not have happened.

    the adult folks caught in there have to take some blame. they should have known by the way that place looked that it was NOT safe at all. I would have never ever went in there.

    they gambled and lost their lives which is so very very sad because had they used simple common sense they would still be alive.

  • Kjibbers

    I wanted to say same thing