Oakland

Victims’ Families Mark Two-Year Anniversary of Oakland’s Ghost Ship Fire

Sunday marked two years since the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire killed 36 people, and some of the victims' families visited the site to remember their loved ones.

Sue Slocum said it was a difficult decision to come by a memorial set up in front of the burned out warehouse where her daughter Donna Kellogg’s name appears.

"I loved her very much," Slocum said. "I didn’t want to be here, but I felt like it was really important to be here."

Kellogg was among dozens of people who attended an electronic dance party at the warehouse Dec. 2, 2016. She was among the 36 who were unable to escape the converted warehouse that some called a death trap.

Ed Bernbaum said it’s a sad, difficult day. His son Jonathan was a renowned VJ who was not performing that night and died in the blaze.

"It just reminds us of Jonathan,: Bernbaum said. "We miss him."

Bernbaum has since put his energy into a nonprofit called Vital Arts.

"What we’re trying to do is honor the victims of the fire by providing safe affordable housing, work and performance space for artists," he said.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted Sunday, acknowledging the anniversary of the fire: "Our community mourns the second anniversary of the Ghost Ship fire that claimed 36 beautiful lives … Oakland grieves together, we remember together and we heal together."

Two men face criminal charges in the fire. Derick Almena, the building's master tenant, and Max Harris, the Ghost Ship's creative director, are due in court Monday. They’re expected to go to trial next spring after a judge rejected a plea deal last month.

Almena and Harris each faces 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

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