Oakland releases public records linked to fatal Ghost Ship warehouse fire

- Oakland city officials on Wednesday released over 600 pages of public records regarding the deadly fire two months ago at the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in which 36 people were killed. 

Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city released the documents because the city wanted to be transparent in their investigation.

“I strongly believe that sunshine helps to light the path forward,” she said in a written statement. “I recognize the media and others have been frustrated by the time it has taken to assemble these documents from many different departments because we were determined to cast a wide net to provide all relevant information and take an exhaustive look at not just the warehouse, but also the immediately adjacent properties. Transparency is critical. Our impacted community deserves to know all the facts about this tragedy.” 

According to the documents, police likely knew people had been living in the warehouse since 2014.

And on Dec. 3, 2014, almost exactly two years before the 2016 fatal blaze, police were called to that address after the landlord reportedly punched a tenant for being short on rent. And the tenant told police he might be murdered if both parties stayed under the same roof, according to the reports.

On Feb. 2, 2015, police met again with the landlord and another tenant over a dispute, records show.

The report says the warehouse was used for illegal shared housing and that police advised both the tenant and the landlord of their legal obligation.

The documents show that police were called back to the warehouse several times for criminal activity: a barricade situation in March, a disturbance with a knife wielding suspect and then a stabbing a few months later.

After the fire broke out, 2 Investigates uncovered multiple code violations against the warehouse, three of which were verified. One in 2005 and another in 2014 were both for blight outside the building.

The most recent violation was issued for trash and hazardous materials piling up on the property, and suspicion of people living there. All of those incidents happened just two weeks before the deadly fire. An inspector was not able to access the inside of the building, and a follow up nspection was never scheduled.

Calls from KTVU to the Oakland Police Department to ask about their protocol when responding to a call about illegal housing, and to find out if they reported any of these incidents to the city housing department were not immediately returned.

According to the city, there are records that can't yet be released without compromising ongoing investigations. 

The records include the Ghost Ship warehouse, adjacent lot to the south of the Ghost Ship warehouse which is owned by the same person, 1309 31st Avenue, 1212 31st Avenue which is a former car repair shop, 3071 International Boulevard and 3073 International Boulevard (nearby properties recorded as being owned by the same owners of the Ghost Ship warehouse and the adjacent lot).

The 600 pages of public records include records from 2007 through Dec. 1, 2016.

KTVU reporter Alyana Gomez contributed to this report.

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