Memorial concert honors Ghost Ship victims on 3rd anniversary of deadly Oakland fire

ByAnser Hassan KGO logo
Monday, December 2, 2019
Ghost Ship victims honored on 3rd anniversary of deadly Oakland fire
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Sunday night a memorial concert was played to honor the 36 people who died in the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in Oakland, and to celebrate their art.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Monday marks the third anniversary of the Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire in Oakland. Sunday night a memorial concert was played at the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church to honor those who died and to celebrate their art.

The audience was made up mostly of victims' friends and family, who listened to a seven-part program featuring traditional choral music along with audio and visual work of some of the victims.

GHOST SHIP TIMELINE: How the investigation into the deadly fire unfolded

Edwin Bernbaum spoke of the devastation in losing his son Johnathan, whose work was the first to be featured in the concert. The family says there are thankful that his legacy is being kept alive through his art.

"For me and my parents, events like this are really healing, and getting a chance to have his work out there and share it is something that is really comforting," says David Bernbaum, Jonathan's brother.

Judy and Brian Hough's son Travis also died in the fire. They say they are grateful for these types of programs and happy that so many of the victims' work is being shared.

"We see video and we hear music and we get to live that over and over. It's a blessing," says Judy.

Pastor Pamela Kurtz says the memorial is also about holding the city of Oakland accountable.

"It's a good reminder that the city needs to continually be responsible for the lives of all the people who live here and the artists especially, who are particularly vulnerable," she says.

Some of the family members in attendance say there are plans for more events to showcase the artwork of the Ghost Ship fire victims.

Families of many of the Ghost Ship victims have filed a lawsuit against the City of Oakland and other defendants.

The trial is due to begin in May.

Meantime, Ghost Ship Master Tenant Derick Almena is expected to eventually be retried on involuntary manslaughter charges after a jury deadlocked in a trial earlier this year.

The judge declared a mistrial. Jurors acquitted co-defendant Max Harris, the Ghost Ship's creative director.

The Voices of Silicon Valley helped put together today's memorial event. You can find out more about their efforts here.

Go here for full coverage of the Ghost Ship fire and trial.