Parents of Ghost Ship fire victim testify in Sacramento

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The parents of a man who died in Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship fire testified in Sacramento Wednesday to talk about their loss and what could be done to spare others the same heartache. (KGO-TV)

The parents of a man who died in Oakland's deadly Ghost Ship fire testified in Sacramento Wednesday to talk about their loss and what could be done to spare others the same heartache.

Jonathan Bernbaum's father is trying to turn a tremendous loss into something positive.


His son Jonathan was a visual projection artist and was among 36 people killed last December in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.

Testifying before a California senate committee, Edwin Bernbaum told lawmakers though some thought it was a dangerous building, and artists like his son gathered at the Ghost Ship warehouse because they had nowhere else like it to go.

PHOTOS: A look inside the Oakland Ghost Ship collective warehouse


"Two years earlier, his older brother had performed at the Ghost Ship warehouse and they decided it was a very, very dangerous place and they decided never to come back. But with soaring costs and rents, there were fewer and fewer places for where artists could live," Jonathan's father said.


State Sen. Nancy Skinner told the committee her grown daughter was a preschool classmate of Jonathan's.


"We don't want anything like this to happen again, but let's understand why. There are so many factors. We have a housing crisis in California," Skinner said.

"We don't want to see draconian approaches," Jonathan's mother Diane Bernbaum said.

The Bernbaums want a measured response to the Ghost Ship fire tragedy.

"We see this really as a memorial, honoring Jonathan and his friends who died in the fire, trying to do something to look to the future," Edwin said.

In their son's memory, the Bernbaums have started a non-profit called Vital Arts to help create safe work/live spaces for Bay Area artists.

Click here for all ABC7 News stories, videos, and photos from the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.
Related Topics:
newsghost ship firefirefighterssmokefiredeadly firefatal fireus capitolcaliforniastate capitalOaklandSacramento
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