Memorials rise for first anniversary of tragic Oakland Ghost Ship fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Saturday marks one year since one of the deadliest fires in Oakland's history claimed 36 lives. A number of events are scheduled this weekend to remember the victims.

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While a memorial of flowers blooms outside the fence that guards the fire damaged warehouse, Oakland City Councilmember Noel Gallo and crew spruced up the site. "We just want to make sure when you come into our neighborhood it's a clean environment, safe environment so we can show our respect for everyone," he said.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2016 -- during a concert inside the Ghost Ship Warehouse -- a fire broke out. A makeshift stairway and blocked exits kept many people from getting out, and the city of Oakland was criticized for not inspecting many of the unregulated live-work spaces in the city.

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But, Gallo says things are improving, primarily because nearby neighbors are coming forward to report problems.

"Regarding illegal wiring, fire safety, mold and just the poor living conditions some of us are choosing to live in," Gallo added.

The Fire Department has heard criticism that nothing has changed since the deadly blaze. Fire Chief Darin White disagrees and points to the hiring of a half dozen new fire inspectors to join the eight already on duty.

"As of today we have 3 of the six currently hired. One coming on board Monday and two remaining by the end of the year," White told ABC7 News.

Jonah Strauss heads the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, which represents the artists community in these unregulated live-work places. He says if the city really wants to succeed, they'll partner with grassroots groups.

Click here for full coverage on the deadly Ghost Ship Fire.
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