I’m late to this, but I see there has been a deadly fire in an “artists’ collective” in Oakland, California:
Dozens of people are feared dead after a fire broke out during a rave at a converted warehouse in Oakland, California.
Authorities have confirmed nine deaths but say they are preparing for the death toll to rise as high as 40.
Oakland fire chief Teresa Deloche-Reed said between 50 and 100 people were thought to have been inside the venue.
The venue was hosting a concert by electronic group Golden Donna, along with six other acts. The venue had been announced on Facebook earlier in the day.
The building did not have a sprinkler system and firefighters did not hear any alarms when they arrived, Ms Deloche-Reed said.
The warehouse, which houses artists in improvised studios, was packed with furniture, mannequins and other objects, obstructing firefighters’ efforts to put out the blaze, she added.
“It was filled end to end with furniture, whatnot, collections. It was like a maze almost.”
The only exit from the second floor was a staircase made from wooden pallets, Ms Deloche-Reed said.
I occasionally encounter people who wax lyrical about “artists'” squats and other instances of “artists” taking over a building, thinking that doing so is exceptionally cool and edgy. Not one of them has ever mentioned the potential consequences of occupying a premises which falls foul of any number of building codes and is uninsured.
Officials have opened a criminal inquiry into a fire that killed at least 36 people at a warehouse party in Oakland, California.
The premises had already been under investigation prior to the fire over possible building code violations.
The warehouse had no sprinklers and one ex-resident called it a “death trap”.
Officials described the interior as like a maze, with the warehouse packed with furniture, mannequins and other objects, the only exit from the second floor a makeshift stairwell.
The building, known as the Ghost Ship, was used to house artists in improvised studios but several reports say people were illegally living there too.
Neighbours had complained to the city about rubbish piling up on the street outside, and about the illegal tenants.
I don’t give a fuck how edgy or cool the people responsible for this place thought they were, if they have broken the law and people have died as a result then they ought to get the book thrown at them, same as the rest of us would. Tim Blair has more:
Consider the number of people who might be implicated in potential wrongful death lawsuits, right down to every Oakland hipster café that allowed promotional flyers for this venue to every website that invited people on Friday night. Interestingly, with 36 confirmed dead in the deadliest US fire since 2003, artistic Oakland types are worried about other sketchy venues being shut down.
This is no different from driving an uninsured vehicle down the street with no license. Much as though I dislike a lot of government regulation, some of it is sensible and stops innocent people getting hurt or killed. People ignoring regulations because they self-identify as “artists” is something that should never have been tolerated in the first place.