Gathering Marks One Year Since Deadly Oakland Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire

The first anniversary of a fire that killed 36 people during an electronic music party in an Oakland, California warehouse has been marked with a gathering outside the gutted building known as the "Ghost Ship."

The East Bay Times reports that an Aztec group performed Saturday outside the ruins, and candles and mementos were placed at a nearby metal palm tree sculpture.

Names of the victims were read, and the Rev. Wortham Fears of Christian Academy told the gathering to remember the smiles and laughs shared with them.

"We miss Jonathan and it's sad to come to something like this," said Ed Bernbaum about his son. "But the memory is a celebration." 

Flowers and notes were carefully placed outside the warehouse. 

Councilmen Noel Gallo, a district representative fighting to improve warehouse safety, spoke during the memorial. 

"It's not only to express our gratitude and sorrow and prayers," said Gallo. "But to remind us that we still have a serious issue in the city." 

After the fire, a project was created to help provide safe and affordable housing work and performance spaces for artists. 

The city of Oakland is also working on a new system to share information on inspections and improvements that need to be made to living spaces. Oakland has hired more inspectors in both the fire department and planning and zoning to help speed up permitting. 

"I think it's important to reinforce our commitment to making the changes that are needed to allow for safe legalization of alternative housing," said Rebecca Kaplan from the Oakland City Council. 

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, issued a statement to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Ghost Ship Fire that took the lives of 36 people in Oakland last year.

"My thoughts and prayers remain with the survivors and the families of victims who are still healing from this horrific tragedy," Lee said. "The Ghost Ship Fire was an unimaginable disaster."

Citing a silver lining of the inferno, Lee continued, "Yet in the face of this horrendous disaster I have been awed by the compassion and perseverance displayed by our East Bay family."

The fire broke out around 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2016, at 1305 31st Ave., at a warehouse known as the "Ghost Ship" that was being used by an artist collective and was hosting a party with musical acts.

Events were to continue, including a procession to Lake Merritt, art installations, a sundown observance and nighttime vigil.

The East Bay Times says some dance clubs planned to pause between 11 p.m. and midnight for a moment of silence.

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