The Investigative Unit compiled an interactive timeline documenting every known interaction city officials had with the Ng family leading up to the deadliest fire in Oakland’s history.
Long before a fast-moving warehouse fire killed 36 partygoers in Oakland’s Fruitvale district late Friday night, Oakland officials had been fighting the owners of that building over hazardous or substandard conditions at their properties.
City building inspectors never set foot inside the Ghost Ship warehouse in 30 years. But dozens of public documents obtained by the Investigative Unit reveal city officials had routinely accused the building’s owners of neglect in connection with the warehouse and other properties they own. Those records show the Ng family, who own the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse and at least a dozen other properties across the Bay Area, failed to clean up dangerous or shoddy conditions at properties over a period of more than 15 years despite code violations and complaints from neighbors.
The first substantial contact between city officials and the Ng family dates back 16 years to 2000, when the family failed to clean up “nuisance or substandard or hazardous or injurious” conditions at a building they own in Oakland’s Chinatown, records show. City crews stepped in, and three separate liens were placed on the property until the Ng family paid the city back for the cleanup costs.
More than 15 years later, city officials allege substandard and dangerous conditions at their 31st Avenue warehouse are partially responsible for the deaths of 36 people.