An Oakland Fire station located a mere 500 feet away from the deadly warehouse fire had never entered the warehouse building before the fire occurred.
On December 2, 36 people perished in the flames that consumed the structure.
Also, last week officials said building code enforcement inspectors had not been inside the warehouse in at least 30 years, although the property had almost two dozen building code complaints or other city actions.
The warehouse had been dubbed the “Ghost Ship” warehouse because it didn’t exist on paper, and, according to the Daily Caller, it was never inspected before the December 2nd fire.
Neighbors stated to the LA Times that they had contacted the city about trash and debris outside of the warehouse as well as other unsafe conditions inside the warehouse. Several former tenants complained to city agencies about the deplorable conditions as well as unsafe structural and electric system. It has yet to be discovered why these complaints were not pursued.
Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said, “A review of city records showed that the fire department never had any triggers to inspect the property because it never received any complaints.”
A city government source also said on Thursday that “the address for the warehouse was not in the fire department’s database of buildings requiring inspections.”
Oakland’s Fire Prevention Bureau is required to conduct annual inspections of all commercial buildings and multi-family residences. Officials have not released any prior fire inspection reports regarding the warehouse.
The source said, “Some firefighters in the area knew the building had problems because of incidents they responded to nearby. But as far as the source knew, no firefighter had ever had reason to go inside. When the fire broke out, some firefighters alerted fellow first responders that the warehouse was dangerous.”
At the time of the fire, Oakland building officials had an open investigation of the warehouse. They said an inspector attempted to examine the interior of the building but could not get in.
Questions about the competence of Oakland’s building inspection agency came up back in 2011 when an Alameda County Grand jury accused the city’s building services division of mismanagement and having sloppy policies on conducting building inspections.
A grand jury report found, “The agency was riddled with “poor management, lack of leadership, and ambiguous policies and procedures.” It added that the agency had inconsistent standards on code violations and that the violation notices sent to property owners were late and hard to understand. In addition, inspectors treated property owners in an “unprofessional, retaliatory and intimidating” manner.”
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
— Eric (@_EricLieberman_) December 13, 2016
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