Oakland Warehouse Fire Claims Lives of Thirty-Six Victims

December 26, 2016

Thirty-six people are confirmed to have died in an Oakland warehouse fire at a makeshift nightclub called the Ghost Ship, making this one of the worst fires in recent history. Party-goers were trapped inside, with many victims dying of asphyxiation.


Interior Conditions a Hazard

It took hours for the fire to be put out, and the fortunate ones who escaped looked on as black smoke poured from the warehouse windows. Firefighters rescued as many people as they could, but their job was made harder due to the interior of the warehouse. Instead of one large open space, it was made up of numerous artist studios and small spaces that were difficult to get to.

To make matters worse, the first and second floor were connected by a staircase made up of wooden pallets. Both flimsy and highly flammable, this may have contributed to the high number of injuries and deaths, as it was hard enough for people to escape. On top of that, the entire building only had two exits.

The truth is that the Ghost Ship never would have been approved as a nightclub because it did not meet fire and safety codes, making it entirely unsafe, as proven by this disastrous fire.


Numerous Wrongful Deaths

The Ghost Ship warehouse fire is one of the worst of its kind in decades. The building is no longer sound structurally, the roof has collapsed, and there is debris everywhere. Because of this, the police are having difficulty accessing all of the areas inside without putting their own crews in jeopardy. They think that up to forty people may have died in the fire.

For the families of those missing, this is a horrific tragedy that goes beyond the imagination. Many are still waiting to know if there loved one was killed in the fire and waiting for bodies to be recovered. Families are providing information on distinguishing characteristics, such as tattoos and piercings that can be used to identify bodies, something no family member should ever have to do.


What Now for Survivors and Families?

The families of deceased victims are now grappling with significant losses. As in any accident’s aftermath, the question now becomes a matter of what to do next. Accident victims and surviving family members need to know what their legal rights are.

In the case of a victim’s family, there may be an option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Spouses, children, and other financial dependents may be able to sue the negligent party whose actions or inaction caused their loved one to die. These cases are complex, but when negligence is involved, it may be the only way to really hold the other party accountable.


Orange County Wrongful Death and Premises Liability Attorneys

In the example of the Oakland warehouse fire, the entity throwing the party, the owner of the warehouse, and anyone responsible for starting the fire could be found negligent and held accountable.

While sometimes law enforcement is involved, charges are not always pressed, and even if they are and a conviction is had, that doesn’t do anything financially for a victim’s family. This is why at Kohan & Bablove, Injury Attorneys, we encourage you to call 1-844-404-2400 or complete the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit.