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Dozens Dead After Electrical Fire At Warehouse Party In Oakland

first_imgOn Saturday morning, the nation woke up to some truly tragic news out of Oakland, CA. Late Friday night, a fire broke out at a warehouse party. As the fire engulfed more and more of the building, dozens of patrons were trapped inside, perishing in the flames or asphyxiating on the thick black smoke.Emergency workers said they arrived to find the building filled with heavy smoke and flames. According to Chief Teresa Deloach Reed of the Oakland Fire Department on Saturday, bodies were found on the second floor of the building. “In my career of 30 years,” she said, “I haven’t experienced something of this magnitude.” Even without a full accounting, the fire was one of the deadliest in the United States in many years.On Saturday morning, the event’s Facebook page said admission to the show was $10 for those who arrived before 11 p.m. and $15 after that. By the end of the day, the pricing had disappeared and the page had turned into an emergency message board, as dozens of friends and family members posted about missing loved ones. People have distributed a spreadsheet listingidentifying information — age, height, weight, hair color, tattoos — and contact numbers for many of those who are still unaccounted for.The tragedy brings to light an underlying fear for many in the underground music scene, where this sort of warehouse party is commonplace. The building, known as the Ghost Ship, in the Fruitvale neighborhood, was the site of an event featuring a variety of experimental electronic music, performed by a synth musician drawing from the “black, queer diaspora” and others, as well as a visual installation. The makeshift, two-story venue, described by one attendee as “a dim and cluttered area with a maze of furniture, canvas paintings on the walls and papier-mâché hanging from the ceilings”, had only two exits and no ventilation.Diego Aguilar-Canabal, 24, a blogger and freelance writer who lives in Berkeley and plays guitar in a band called the Noriegas, explained to the New York Times that he had been to three dozen house and warehouse parties over the past two years. “The basic idea is people want to do loud things late at night, and industrial space is really good for that because there aren’t many neighbors to complain,” he said. “There’s a lot of anxiety about income inequality and class warfare, and a lot of these artists are trying to do the best they can to have a community.”As of the time of publication, the death toll has been reported at 24, though the search for bodies is ongoing and will likely take several days to complete. If you are from the San Francisco/Oakland area, be sure to contact your loved ones and let them know you’re OK, as we wait with heavy hearts for responders to complete their search. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy.[Photo via @Oaklandfirelive]last_img

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