Horror ‘Ghost Ship’ inferno killed 36 revellers as club went up ‘like fireplace’

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    A tragic 36 revelers were cooked to death in a horror fire at a warehouse eerily named the Ghost Ship.

    Today, Friday marks six years since the Ghost Ship in Oakland, California in the US, experienced its deadliest-ever fire and the nation's worst for 13 years.

    Investigations that followed the deaths of 36 people soon before midnight on December 2016, found the warehouse had earlier been feared by police to go up "like a fireplace" with just "one spark".

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    Parties at the venue were illegal yet on that night it hosted up to 100 dance fans attending for the house music record label 100% Silk.

    No official cause for the inferno was determined but Assistant Fire Marshal Maria Sabatini said it was likely an electrical failure, leading to the imprisonment of the Ghost Ship's master tenant.

    In an investigation that ran until last year, Derick Almena was eventually jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty to 36 counts of manslaughter.

    Escaping the venue once the fire had started "was like a maze", according to one survivor as everyone desperately tried crawling around countless furniture to safety.

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    Doorman Max Ohr said that when he saw the fire, he and neighbour Anthony Perrault, grabbed fire extinguishers with the help of a third resident, and tried to put the fire out.

    Faced with waves of fire exploding across the ceiling, the trio were helpless as the flames ignited everything they touched.

    Dropping the extinguishers, they ran toward the front of the Ghost Ship, yelling "Fire!"

    From the moment the fire service were called at around 11.20pm, it took 52 firefighters, using 14 pieces of apparatus, until 4.36am to declare it under control.

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    Inside the warehouse was a makeshift staircase which did little to fill inspecting officers with confidence that it was a safe venue. That staircase went up in flames, cutting off all those on the first floor during the fire.

    Officer Moises Polanco told her colleague Jonathan Low, “One spark … one spark and (it would be) real bad. It’s like a huge fireplace … I would be worried about all the electrical wires … Wow.”

    Shockingly around 25 police officers and firefighters had visited the 1930- built warehouse in the two years leading up to the fire, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    In 2013, warehouse owner Chor Ng leased the property to Derick Almena and Nicholas Bouchard who agreed they'd use the place as an art collective base "to build and create theatrical sets and offer workshops for community outreach."

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    It was Almena who moved in with his family, who renamed it the Ghost Ship and illegally sublet the space to 25 resident artists for super cheap rent between £244 and £488 a month.

    Almena told tenants to make sure they only told others that the Ghost Ship was a 24-hour art studio, not that they lived there.

    He told police officer Hector Chavez the same thing in 2014 or 2015.


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