A slew of people, including the building owner and employees of various city and county departments, knew Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse posed dangers long before a deadly blaze killed 36 people earlier this month, the parents of two party goers who perished have alleged in lawsuits.
Among those who should’ve been aware of the hazards are members of the Oakland Fire Department who “attended and held a music event” there prior to the deadly fire, the lawsuits say without elaborating.
They also note that the nearest fire station is about a block away.
“We have filed this lawsuit against the owners of the building, … against those who were involved with the event, the promoters and the person who was putting on the show. And we have also filed against the person who was like the manager,” said San Francisco attorney Mary Alexander, who is representing the families of Griffin Madden and Michela Gregory.
The Maddens and Gregorys filed lawsuits against several individuals associated with the Ghost Ship, while filing claims against Oakland and Alameda County. The California Tort Claims Act requires that individuals give government entities the chance to settle claims before including them in lawsuits.
Madden and Gregory tried to escape the Ghost Ship once the deadly fire broke out and both knew they were “likely going to perish” because they could not escape the blaze, the lawsuits say.
Both were alive, fearing for their safety, when they were overcome by fire and smoke, killing them. Neither died instantaneously, according to the suit. Rather, both were “injured and suffered from the injuries caused by the fire and smoke for many minutes before dying,” it says.
“Michela’s body was found inside the Ghost Ship with her boyfriend of five years, Alex Vega. Alex’s arms were wrapped around Michela, trying to protect her from the fire,” one of the lawsuits says.
Madden’s body was also found inside the Ghost Ship, according to his family’s lawsuit.
“As a result of the horrific, gross negligence of the defendants in this case, these two young people have lost their lives,” Alexander said.