Photos: Inside the Oakland ‘Ghost Ship' Warehouse Building Before It Caught Fire

Images from inside the warehouse commonly referred to as the "Ghost Ship" that was the site of one of the deadliest fires in Oakland history.

14 photos
On Dec. 3, 2016, a three-alarm fire broke out at an Oakland warehouse killing at least nine people, with at least two dozen others still unaccounted for. This image and subsequent others are from inside the building commonly referred to as the "Oakland Ghost Ship."
The building was considered an artist's conclave, cluttered with wood workers, sculptors, painters and more.
City officials described the building as a "labyrinth of artist studios."
A Facebook event page indicates that the fire happened during a Golden Donna show, which was promoted by Los Angeles-based dance label 100% Silk.
Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said the building was "subdivided into other occupancies" and between 50 and 100 people were partying on the upper floor.
An official with the Oakland Planning Department said the building was only permitted for use as a warehouse.
City officials are investigating whether people were living in the warehouse illegally before the lethal fire.
The party that young electronic music fans flocked to "would require a special permit from the city, and such a permit had not been issued," said an official.
It is common knowledge, according to a neighbor, that artists lived inside the warehouse and left all sorts of junk — including RVs and odds-and-ends — outside, drawing scavengers.
Oakland property records indicate that the warehouse is owned by the Chor N. Ng trust.nA family member speaking on behalf of Ng said they were "trying to figure out what happened just like everyone else" and were "sorry to hear of [the tragedy] and those injured and killed."
Ajesh Shah
Ajesh Shah, 35, of Oakland took photos of the art inside the Ghost Ship several times before. He shared these photos with NBC Bay Area.
Ajesh Sheh
Not only was the artists' “labyrinth” filled with a bevy of artwork, wooden pieces, electrical wires, Hindu god statues and even a gun, but the stairwell, decorated with pink lights, was makeshift, too. He took a photo of the staircase two years ago. Pictured above: The staircase inside the Ghost Ship warehouse that burned down on Dec. 2, 2016, taken in 2014.
Ajesh Shah
“We gathered to have interesting conversations about embracing different art forms,” Ajesh Shah told NBC Bay Area.
Ajesh Shah
The inside space of the warehouse on East 31st Avenue was both beautiful and a “disaster waiting to happen,” Ajesh Shah said. That's why he only hosted one event, "partly, because I did not feel like I wanted to use the space again because of safety in and outside the venue."
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