Oakland Warehouse ‘Looks Very Bad,’ Stairwell Unsafe: New City Documents

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Oakland documents released on Monday show that city officials had received an ominous warning last month about the Ghost Ship warehouse related to trash “piling up on the property” and a remodel that “looks very bad and creates health issue.”

In addition, for the first time, city records make reference to a wooden staircase inside the warehouse at 1305 East 31st Avenue, where 36 people have been reported dead after a Friday night blaze ripped through the building during a dance party of mostly 20-something artists and musicians.

“Firefighters say that some of the victims might have been trapped in the blaze when they couldn’t escape down a makeshift one-way stairwell leading to the second floor that was built out of wooden pallets,” reads the entry log, written on Saturday, the day after the fire.

In a previous interview, the property owner, Eva Ng, refuted claims that the staircase had been made out of wooden pallets. A guest of the warehouse also shared a photo of the stairwell with NBC Bay Area taken two years before the fire.

The permit/history complaint file on this warehouse dates back to 1988, when there was another fire noted at this address.

The most recent violation was noted for the warehouse was written on Nov. 13, when an unknown author wrote “there are a ton (sic) of garbage piling up on the property… Also, a lot of items are left on the sidewalk near the property. Some of the trash was hazardous. This property is a (sic) storage but the owner turned it to become trash recycle site. The yard became trash collection site and the main building was (sic) remodel for residential. The change causes our neighborhood (sic) looks very bad and creates health issue.”

The city wrote that a notice of violation was sent on Nov. 14, and an investigation of the “illegal interior building structure” was pending.

Inspectors returned on Nov. 17, but they couldn’t get in, Darin Ranelletti, Oakland’s interim director of planning and building, said at a weekend news conference.

Read the full city documents here.

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