Photographer reunites girlfriend of Ghost Ship fire victim with lost photo

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One young woman used social media to to find a memorable photograph immortalizing her and Griffin Madden, one of the victims of the Ghost Ship fire. (Instagram/NewYorkFaces)

After the devastating Ghost Ship fire that took 36 lives in Oakland one young woman set out to find a memorable photograph immortalizing her and one of the victims, 23-year-old Cal graduate Griffin Madden of Berkeley.



UC Berkeley graduate Saya Tomioka took to Facebook on Dec. 4 in search of the photo taken in 2015. She wrote:

This morning I remembered the first time I went to Times Square, June 16 of 2015. Griffin and I just finished watching The Book of Mormon on Broadway. I remember tears swelling my eyes because the city was so beautiful and amidst all the lights, I got to look at the brightest light of all, my sweetie. I cried, and we kissed. Some random photographer captured this very moment, this very kiss.... I never got his name, and he just simply showed us the single beautiful snap shot that he was able to capture.

I've always longed to find this particular photograph and thank the photographer.... Friends, possibly with your help, I can be reunited with this photograph, this treasured memory that I'll always keep in my heart. I don't even know if it's possible, but please share this status if you think it is. I need some light right now.... I need a reminder of the brightest light of all---love. Thank you for those sending us love and prayers, I hear you and I feel you. Our community mourns. I love you, gg, my sweetie chan.


The photographer Arken Avan, who shares his work on Instagram as NewYorkFaces, saw the post and sent the images of Tomioka and Madden kissing in Times Square.

Tomikoa posted again, sharing a thoughtful and heartbreaking tribute to her boyfriend who died in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire on Dec. 2.

"I am at peace," she wrote. "I loved you openly and endlessly from the moment I laid my eyes on you on my first day at UC Berkeley as a freshman. I have no regrets, no question that you ever doubted my love for you."

Click here to donate to the Madden family.

Click here to see all of ABC7 News' stories, videos and photos on the Ghost Ship fire.

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