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Tue Mar 28, 2017, 09:28 AM

3 people killed as fire burns troubled Oakland building

Three people were killed and a fourth was missing after an early morning fire Monday ripped through a large transitional housing building in West Oakland where fire inspectors had found 11 glaring safety violations just three days earlier.

As friends and neighbors awaited identifications of the dead, public records revealed the city had responded to numerous complaints about the building at 2551 San Pablo Ave. The records again raised questions about city property inspections in the wake of Decemberís catastrophic Ghost Ship fire, which killed 36 people.

Following a Feb. 25 referral for a fire safety inspection at the building by the Fire Department, the Oakland Fire Prevention Bureau said it could not get inside.

It took a second request March 18 before inspectors finally gained access on Friday. Once inside, inspectors said they found the 11 flagrant violations, including units lacking smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, a malfunctioning sprinkler system and a series of extension cords.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/bayarea/article/Fire-burning-out-of-control-at-West-Oakland-11030109.php

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Reply 3 people killed as fire burns troubled Oakland building (Original post)
TexasTowelie Mar 2017 OP
JayhawkSD Mar 2017 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Mar 28, 2017, 11:33 AM

1. The report also said the owner was trying to evict the residents.

 

"...the landlord, Keith Kim, had issued eviction notices in December to dozens of residents living on the first two floors of the building. Residents said they were told the Ghost Ship fire was the reason for the evictions." (emphasis mine.)

Sounds like the owner was trying to prevent just what happened, but that the tenants would not cooperate. The third floor was closed and was occupied by squatters. The article says, "Attorneys for the residents have been battling the eviction effort since then, employing a mediator and Oakland City Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney to help settle the dispute."

"Following a Feb. 25 referral for a fire safety inspection at the building by the Fire Department, the Oakland Fire Prevention Bureau said it could not get inside." Does it say that the owner prevented entry? I strongly suspect that if that were the case it would have said so. It seem likely to me that it was the residents who prevented access.

There are many hints that the owner was trying to take action. In addition to the statement earlier that residents were told that "the Ghost Ship fire was the reason for the evictions," the article says that "McElhaney was trying to negotiate a deal for residents to voluntarily move out so the building could be rehabilitated." Such negotiations would not be ongoing without the owners participation.

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