Horrific Oakland Warehouse Fire Kills at Least 30, Injures Many More
Oakland Warehouse Fire Lawyer Explains Oakland Warehouse Fire Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Claims
In the past two decades, in Oakland and across the United States, innumerable warehouses have been repurposed for new uses. These oftentimes include centers for artisans and even nightclubs. The key to successfully repurposing a warehouse is complying with those laws and regulations that pertain to safety. The horrific Oakland warehouse fire of December 3, 2016, illustrates what happens when proper steps evidently are not taken to repurpose a building for other uses.
30 People Killed in Oakland Warehouse Fire
At least 30 people are reported dead because of the raging fire at the Oakland warehouse. About 70 people were on the second floor of the building for a concert. Other people, including artisans with studios in the building, were on the first floor at the time the fire erupted. It appears that the fire started and spread so quickly, about half of the people on the second floor at the concert were unable to evacuate.
Oakland Warehouse Fire Investigation Ongoing
Although a great deal remains up in the air regarding the cause of the Oakland warehouse fire, some facts have come to light. First, the building itself appears to have been approved only for warehouse use and nothing more.
Despite the fact that the building's approved use was limited, the owner is said to have remodeled the interior to create studio space for artisans on the first floor. There are also allegations that some of the interior was remodeled to create some sort of residential space, although not up to code. At the present time, the owner of the structure admits to creating studios for artisans, but denies the creation of makeshift residential space.
The upper floor of the structure is where the outbreak of what proved to be a raging inferno occurred. The owner's daughter claims that there were two wooden staircases that permitted emergency evacuation from the top floor. In fact, witnesses at the scene state that is false. They contend that the so-called stairs were really wooden packing crates of some type at two locations in the structure.
Preliminary investigation reveals that the building lacked:
- smoke detectors
- fire alarms
- functioning fire extinguishers
- sprinkler system
Because of the manner in which the premises appear to have been occupied, California law and Oakland ordinances likely require all of these instruments to be on the premises and operational. The building owner is who bears responsibility for these and other instruments and systems.
No Proper Permit
In addition to a multitude of possible code violations, there was no proper permit for the concert. The event that occurred on the second floor of the warehouse was required to obtain a permit.
The permit process very well may have resulted in a denial of authorization for the event, based on the state of the building. Some suggest that this reality is the reason event organizers did not attempt to obtain a permit for the concert in the first instance.
Had an application for a permit been submitted as required, an inspection of the premises would have occurred. All of the deficiencies would have been duly noted at that juncture, preventing the issuance of an event permit.
Arson at Oakland Warehouse Fire Ruled Out, at Least for Now
Investigators have not reached a final determination regarding the cause of the fire. However, they tentatively ruled out arson. The warehouse is not considered a crime scene, at the moment.
Open Investigation of Oakland California Warehouse
Before the catastrophic fire on Saturday, December 3, 2016, the warehouse was already the subject of at least one ongoing investigation. There was at least one active blight citation. Other concerns prior to the fire include the tremendous amount of trash piled up around the warehouse. The owner of the building has received citations for problems and violations associated with the warehouse in the past.
Oakland Warehouse Fire Wrongful Death Case
Certain surviving family members may have the legal authority to pursue a wrongful death case against certain parties as a result of the loss of a loved one because of the Oakland warehouse fire. These family member who may have a right to take legal action with the professional assistance of an Oakland warehouse fire attorney include:
Compensation in an Oakland warehouse fire wrongful death case may include recovery for losses like:
- lost companionship
- lost consortium
- mental anguish
- lost income
- funeral expenses
- medical bills
Oakland Warehouse Fire Personal Injury Case
A person injured in the Oakland warehouse fire may have the chance to pursue a personal injury claim against the third party or parties responsible for the fire. Recover for losses may include compensation for:
- medical bills and expenses
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- lost income
- property loss or damage
A skilled Oakland warehouse fire lawyer will fight to ensure that you obtain full compensation. This includes not only financial recovery for existing losses, but also for those reasonable likely to be accrued in the future.
Retain an Oakland Warehouse Fire Attorney from The Doan Law Office
If you were injured because of an Oakland warehouse fire, or if you lost a family member in such a tragedy, an Oakland warehouse fire lawyer at The Doan Law Firm at (800) 349-0000 is ready to meet with you immediately. An appointment with a skilled, experienced, compassionate attorney can be scheduled any time and place convenient to you. There is no charge for an initial consultation with an Oakland warehouse fire lawyer from The Doan Law Firm.
The Doan Law Firm conveniently is located at:
Oakland 1901 Harrison Street Suite 1100
Oakland California 94612