Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire is nightmare scenario for promoters, governments and music lovers – Los Angeles Times

The fire that ripped through an electronic music concert at an Oakland warehouse-turned-art space Friday night was a worst-case scenario for anyone who attends such events. 

As of Sunday morning, 24 bodies were recovered, with more people unaccounted for. Officials fear the death toll could rise to 40. It might be one of the worst disasters in the history of live music in North America.

There are risks in throwing any kind of off-the-grid event, but it’s hard to imagine a more nightmarish confluence of structural failures. Early reports say that the warehouse building, known as the Ghost Ship, filled with art installations and ad-hoc construction, was unsuited for public events. Despite a lack of permits for residential occupancy, some familiar with the location described it as a live/work space with no working sprinklers or smoke detectors and a makeshift staircase to a second floor that trapped fans upstairs once the fire broke out. 

The human toll in this tightknit world of artists, promoters and fans is staggering. As the owners of 100% Silk, the Los Angeles label  whose artists headlined the event, said in a statement: “What happened in Oakland is an unbelievable tragedy, a nightmare scenario.“ Right now, that grief is paramount. 


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