New Oakland Ghost Ship Fire Documents Show Police Responded to Illegal Rave in 2015

The documents include photographs of what the city decsribed as "inoperable vehicles, trash. debris and even oil containers on the property"

The city of Oakland on Wednesday released more than 600 pages of documents related to the Oakland Warehouse fire, which killed 36 people attending a dance party at the artist’s commune on Dec. 3.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The documents shed light on the massive recovery effort that took place by multiple law enforcement agencies following the blaze which ripped through illegal construction inside the building, suffocating those inside.

The documents also show that the Oakland Police Department received 18 calls to the 1305 31st Avenue address from 2007 through Dec. 1, 2016, and multiple calls to adjacent properties related to different complaints, including a stabbing, robbery, kidnapping, drug use, intoxication, as well as illegal dumping, which has been a commonly cited problem for the warehouse as well.[[413316403, C]] The documents include photographs of what the city decsribed as "inoperable vehicles, trash. debris and even oil containers on the property."

A heavily redacted police report from about a year ago, shows that Officer Hector Chavez of the Oakland Police Department was flagged down on March 1, 2015 around 1:37 a.m. on International Boulevard to follow up on a report of “an illegal rave where drugs and alcohol were being used” at the warehouse. Officer Chavez did not cite anyone for violating the Oakland Municipal Code violation. “I activated my PDRD. I did not detain, handcuff or search anyone while on scene. I did not use any type of force on anyone while on the scene,” Chavez wrote in the report.

Chavez further wrote that the caller informed the police about 20 minutes after the rave was shut down to say there were several people inside the warehouse refusing to leave. “Police responded and stood by while everyone left the warehouse,” he wrote.

Documents released by the Oakland Fire Department detail how crews rushed to set up ladders to access the roof to extinguish fires still burning inside the building (in one case one of the firefighters burned his own fingers) and conduct searches for victims. One report says that initially, seven victims were found on the second floor, where the party was going on. According to the report, "thick, heavy, black, roiling smoke” was emanating from the doorway, making it difficult for firefighters to gain entry.

The city received 121 public records request as of Feb. 3 related to the warehouse fire, of which 86 were fulfilled Wednesday, Oakland city officials said.

City officials have said earlier that city of Oakland building inspectors never set foot inside the Ghost Ship warehouse in 30 years. But public documents obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reveal city officials had routinely accused the building’s owners of neglect in connection with the warehouse and other properties they own.

City of Oakland property records show multiple complaints have been filed against the property's owner, one most recently as Nov. 14 for "housing habitability," involving an illegal interior building structure. City officials were in the process of investigating the complaint when the fire broke out.

Property records indicated the building is owned by a trust managed by Chor N. Ng of Oakland.[[413318713, C]] [[413319133, C]]

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