Official: No records of city building inspectors in warehouse in 30 years

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An official said city inspectors had not been inside the Ghost Ship warehouse in 30 years. (KGO-TV)

Now that recovery effort has concluded in the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire, the focus is turning to how the fire started and how another like it can be prevented.

The city planning and building department says they did receive complaints about the property; they were mostly about the vacant lot next door. While inspectors visited that property as recently as last month, they made no effort to go inside the warehouse.

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"In terms of the planning and building inspector, our records didn't show that an inspector had been inside the building in 30 years. That means that we had no applications for permits in the past 30 years and there were no violations that were submitted for interior work within the main building that can be attributed to that street address," said Darin Ranelletti, Oakland Planning and Building Department.

"I'm creating a task force of national fire safety experts. My immediate priorities for this task force are enhanced building safety, event safety and complaint procedures," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The mayor said some of the people who will be on the task force will by flying out Wednesday evening.

In recent days there has been much discussion on the cause of the fire. The Alameda County Sheriff's Department said the ATF told them that a refrigerator was a possible point of origin at the rear of the first floor of the building. On Wednesday the ATF backed off that.

"The refrigerator is still being examined, but has not been determined to be the cause of the fire. We are looking at every possible ignition source that is in the building. We have no time for conclusion. We are going to do a thorough job, we owe that to the families of the victims and we owe that to the community to have accurate information when we make the conclusion," said Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

She also confirmed there were no sprinklers or fire alarm system in the building. Officials said the fire started on the first floor and smoke trapped those on the upper level.

The ATF said they will be out on the scene for several more days.

Wednesday afternoon officials released the identities of two more of the 36 victims; there are still 7 victims who have not been identified. The two new victims identified today are 35-year-old Jason McCarty and 61-year-old Wolfgang Renner. Both men lived in Oakland.

Officials said this is the highest number of fatalities in a structure fire in the U.S. in the last 13 years.

PHOTOS: Some of the victims of the tragic Oakland Ghost Ship fire
If you are trying to locate a loved one, or need information call 510-382-3000.
PHOTOS: A look inside the Oakland Ghost Ship collective warehouse
Click here for all ABC7 News stories, videos, and photos from the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.

Related Topics:
ghost ship firefirefire deathfire rescueOakland
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