1 month after Ghost Ship Fire, Gallo says building inspection will be different in 2017

- It's been exactly one month since the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland. 36 people died and it changed the neighborhood forever. 

The burned-out shell of a building is still standing in the Fruitvale neighborhood, serving as a reminder of what kind of safety changes need to be made during this new year. 

The neighborhood is trying to move forward with the help of a council member who has deep roots in the community. 

A lifelong resident of Oakland, Councilman Noel Gallo grew up in the Fruitvale-San Antonio neighborhoods. He believes the the city needs to do more for the artist community. 

"Well you know certainly this is a public saftey issue, but it's also an environmental and justice issue especially in East Oakland. So we're trying to address properties like this one so we do not lose any lives," Gallo, who represents District 5 told KTVU. "For those of us that continue to live in environments like this one that we offer not only the rent control protection, but at the same time, I  don't want to shy away; state the fact that it is the responsibility of the property owner."

Lawsuits have been filed against the building's owner, employees of various city and county departments. Gallo admits the Ghost Ship may have fallen through the cracks. 

"It's not just about one facility where we may have dropped the ball, but as a result there are a number of facilities or residential units that are housing a residents that are in question right now," said Gallo. 

City inspectors have been working en masse to look at questionable buildings, leaving artists requesting moratoriums on evictions. According to Gallo, code enforcement will be much different in 2017. 

"So we're trying to bring about change in Oakland to make sure that our families are protected especially our children," Gallo said. 

Most of the victims were in the 20s and 30s and were at the artists' collective for a underground party with DJs and musicians. The livelihood of a nearby business is in doubt. 

"It's affecting foot traffic because occasionally we would get people coming that would pay a Boost Mobile bill or walk across on this side, because basically you're not crossing to our side of International [Boulevard] anymore,"  said Cristian Elias manager of City Kicks. 

Across International Blvd., people continue to visit the site of the fire. 

"We're in the process: Do I create the memorial here? Do I create it at the transit building so there is still a lot of community involvement to make sure this doesn't happen again?" Gallo said. 

 

 


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