Business News Live Business

At least 33 people killed in fire at Californian warehouse party

By | Published on Monday 5 December 2016

Ghost Ship, Oakland

At least 33 people died when a fire devastated a building hosting a warehouse party in Oakland, California on Friday night. Already the deadliest fire in the US since 100 people died during a blaze at a Great White gig in Rhode Island in 2003, it is feared the death toll will actually be higher once recovery efforts are completed.

The fire occurred at a converted warehouse that was being used by an artist collective, some of whom reportedly lived on the premises. The party was set to feature seven bands, according to reports, with electronic group Golden Donna headlining. It’s not known how many people were in the building at the time of the blaze, but it’s estimated it could have been about 100.

The cause of the fire is not known, though it’s not thought that arson was involved. However, the investigation into the tragedy will almost certainly consider whether there were building code violations given reports of poor fire safety procedures, and the fact that the warehouse seemingly hosted live music on a regular basis

In the short term, fire crews continue to search the destroyed building – which remains unstable – for further victims. According to Reuters, local mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed that was the city’s first priority, adding: “We have delivered the unacceptable and horrific news of losing a loved one to seven of our families”.

Amongst the confirmed victims was Cash Askew of dream-pop band Them Are Us Too, who released their debut album on US label Dais Records last year. It told Pitchfork: “Cash Askew was an absolutely loved and treasured member of the Dais Records family. We were in awe of her talent, her gentle kindness, and her creative momentum… her passing is an excruciating loss that we may never fully process or recover from”.