On Saturday morning, we all work up to the horrible news of fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland. What was supposed to be an evening of community and celebration turned into an unspeakable tragedy. While we still do not know the full scale of the destructions, it appears to be the largest loss of life due to a disaster since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
Our entire region is in mourning, including in the City of Berkeley. At least five victims have connections to Berkeley including students and alumni of UC Berkeley. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, those who are still missing and their families. I also want to thank the first responders, including Berkeley Fire who were called in through mutual aid, who heroically stepped in.
The City of Berkeley will continue to offer any support to the City of Oakland. This terrible tragedy also calls to light the critical need to provide safe housing for our artist community, many of whom are being pushed out of the region or into dangerous conditions due to rising housing costs. As Mayor, I am committed to working to provide safe live/work space for artists and to improve the safety of housing in our community.
I strongly encourage people to donate to support the victims and their families. Here are a few opportunities to donate: https://ww2.kqed.org/pop/2016/12/04/how-to-help-families-and-loved-ones-of-victims-of-the-oakland-fire/?gclid=CJDTgMyQ3tACFUpNfgodRfgK8Q
A candlelight vigil will be held tonight (December 5, 8pm-10pm)in memory of the victims at the Lake Merritt Pergola (599 El Embarcadero).
If you have a loved one who is missing, you may access information at the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau at (510) 382-3000.