The thick black smoke from a savage warehouse inferno came quickly two years ago, but not quickly enough to spare 36 mostly young partygoers from the terror of knowing they were at life’s end: “I am going to die, mom,” one texted; a young couple fell into an embrace, dying of asphyxiation in each other’s arms.
Adding to the families’ pain, many questions still remain about the Dec. 2, 2016, Ghost Ship fire. Most of them focus on how an artists’ collective in a Fruitvale neighborhood warehouse thrived for years without any city inspections, despite frequent visits there by police and firefighters to deal with problems. Upwards of 20 people lived there, often renting it out for parties, and even an orgy.
But answers could soon be coming as a massive lawsuit involving more than 80 plaintiffs against Oakland, PG&E and warehouse owner Chor Ng lurches through Alameda Superior Court before Judge Brad Seligman.