A Look At Oakland’s Warehouse Fire, Fire Escapes Would Have Made The Difference…

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on charges in the Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people in December (all times local):

5 p.m.

The lead attorney representing relatives of half of people who died in a massive warehouse fire says the families are pleased with criminal charges filed against the men who authorities say turned the building into an illegal artists’ collective.

Attorney Mary Alexander said, however, she’s disappointed the owner of the building hasn’t been charged. Alexander said she believes the owner is just as responsible as the two men arrested on charges of illegally converting the warehouse to house upward of two dozen people.

Derick Almena and Max Harris were charged Monday with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of three dozen people who died in the Dec. 2 fire in Oakland.

Alameda County prosecutors declined to discuss whether more people would be charged, but they did say their investigation was closed.

Alexander and several other attorneys represent the families of 18 victims who are suing Almena, Harris, the building’s owner and others for wrongful death.


2:40 p.m.

Attorneys for a man who ran the Ghost Ship warehouse, where 36 people died in a massive fire, say their client is being made a scapegoat as prosecutors blame him for the deaths in Oakland.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced Monday that warehouse operator Derick Almena had been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors say he rented out space in the illegally converted warehouse and “knowingly created a firetrap” with no way to escape.

Almena’s attorneys said in a statement that the charges “represent no less than a miscarriage of justice.”

Max Harris, who also lived at the Ghost Ship and is accused of organizing a dance party on the night of the fire, faces the same charges.

Each defendant could face up to 39 years in prison if convicted.


1:25 p.m.

The Alameda County district attorney says she has filed 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter against two men in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed three dozen people in December in Oakland, California.

District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced the charges on Monday against Derick Almena, saying he rented out space in the illegally converted warehouse, and Max Harris, who is accused of planning an unpermitted party.

Both men were arrested earlier Monday.

Prosecutors say so much evidence was destroyed in the blaze that a specific cause of the fire will likely never be known.

O’Malley says the organizers were reckless and “knowingly created a firetrap with inadequate means of escape.” She says one way out of the building was blocked.

O’Malley says each defendant could face up to 39 years in prison if convicted.


10:40 a.m.:

A source close to the investigation tells The Associated Press that two men have been arrested and will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 partygoers in Oakland.

The Alameda County district attorney says she will formally announce charges later Monday.

The person says Derick Almena and Max Harris will each be charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The source was not authorized to publicly discuss the charges and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Authorities say Almena leased the warehouse and illegally sublet space for artists to live and work. He also held for-profit concerts at the warehouse, which authorities say was not licensed for entertainment.

Harris lived at the Ghost Ship and is accused of helping plan the December concert where the fire broke out.

“If the Oakland Building would’ve been equipped with exterior Fire Escapes, countless of lives would have been saved that day” – Fire Protection Engineer Gabriel Cabrera with the City of Dallas, who has been keeping a close eye on the aftermath of this tragedy mentions as he is made aware of the legal proceedings made by Alameda County officials.

Source: AP News

Residents flee down fire escapes as fire tears through Brooklyn building

EAST FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (WABC) — A third-alarm fire tore through a row of apartments on the side of a four-story building in Brooklyn.

According to fire marshals, the fire at 832 Linden Blvd., in Brooklyn on Tuesday was accidental, sparked by an electrical strip. Smoke alarms were not operational.

The flames broke out at Linden Boulevard and East 53rd Street in East Flatbush around 4:30 p.m.

Flames were shooting out the top of the structure, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the sky.

Firefighters quickly got the blaze under control, but residents could be seen from climbing down fire escapes to the street below.

All residents were evacuated safely, and no injuries were reported.

About 30 residents were left homeless. The rest of the building was reoccupied.

Howdy Ya’ll! We’ll Be In Texas Next Month To Host a Fire Escape Awareness Seminar, Come Join Us, As We Speak to Local AHJ’s Across Texas About The Dangers of Fire Escapes!

Join us for our monthly meeting & training for June 2017. This month we will be joined by Francisco Meneses with the National Fire Escape Association to discuss fire escapes. We will discuss the basics of code requirements as it relates to the -history of fire escapes -standardizing the process of inspecting fire escape systems -standardizing the process of Repairing, Certifying and/or Load Testing Fire Escape Systems -introduction of Industry Standard Documentation
2012 IFC 1104.16.5.1 Fire escape stairs must be examined every 5 years, by design professional or others acceptable and inspection report must be submitted to the fire code official.

All members in attendance will be issued one CEU for one hour. Please make sure to RSVP and please bring $10 for a buffet lunch.

visit the Fire Prevention Association of North Texas for more details: http://fpant.org/

Philadelphia developed a new application to help citizens map locations of Fire Escapes throughout Philly

Fire Escape Breaking News! The next big Fire Escape Tsunami wave has officially touched ground-zero in the city of Philadelphia, that is, because Philly’s Fire Department and Department of Licenses and Inspections just released an application, called “Fire Escape Crowdsourcing”; that will help identify and officially map Fire Escapes throughout the city in preparation for July 1st, 2017 upcoming mandatory inspections.


Fire Escapes

Bill No. 160462, passed by City Council last year, amended the Philadelphia Fire and Property Maintenance Codes to require that building owners have fire escapes and fire balconies regularly inspected by a licensed professional engineer with experience in structural engineering.

Pursuant to the bill, the engineer must conduct an inspection, provide the building owner a full report on the inspection, and submit a summary of the report to L&I. The inspection report must include a classification of the condition of the fire escape/balcony or façade as Safe; Unsafe; or, if the condition is not currently Unsafe but will become so unless specified repairs and maintenance are completed, as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program. If the report:

  • Identifies any Unsafe conditions, you have 24 hours to take actions necessary to protect public safety, including posting notice of the condition inside the building; 3 days to apply for necessary permits to repair the fire escape/balcony; and 10 days to begin work to correct the condition. Following the repairs, the engineer has two weeks to reinspect and submit an updated report.
  • Identifies any conditions as Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program, you are responsible for taking the actions identified in the report to keep the conditions from becoming Unsafe.
  • Classifies your fire escapes/balconies as Safe, they will be tagged with weather-resistant placards that include the date of inspection and the date of the next required inspection.

Due Date: Inspections, reports, and summaries are due July 1, 2017, or ten years after the construction of your building, whichever comes last, and then every five years thereafter. If you have restored your fire escapes/balconies since June 30, 2016, you may request an extension of the due date for your first inspection by contacting L&I at fireescapereports@phila.gov.

For more information and required forms, please see the L&I website at http://www.phila.gov/li/Pages/PermitsCertificates.aspx.