Community rallies to help artists who lost everything in Oakland warehouse fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands of dollars have been raised to help the artists who lost everything in a recent Oakland warehouse fire.

As many as 10 local businesses were destroyed when the fire burned a large portion of the community art space M0xy.

Dustin Feider, the founder of O2 Treehouse, which builds custom play structures and treehouses, is one of those artists. He said he lost roughly $100,000 in tools and materials.

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"It's my livelihood and actually many other people," Feider told ABC7 News from his apartment in Alameda, where he has since turned into a make-shift studio.

"It was my tool collection -- everything from stationary woodworking tools, metal working tools, power tools, on-site construction tools -- and a collection I've been putting together since 2006 when I started the company."

So far, nearly $18,000 has been donated to a GoFundMe to help his business rebuild.

Similar fundraisers have been started to help other displaced artists.

"The pouring out from the community has been this really amazing thing," Feider exclaimed, mentioning one stranger who donated $1,000 to his business. "That's given me a lot of hope."

No one was injured in the fire last Friday morning, but it resulted in yet one more hurdle for Bay Area artists.

"As many people know, it's been increasingly more difficult for artists to be able to stay in the Bay because of the increase rent costs," Feider said. "And M0xy was this incredible space. It's entire intention behind the business was to really be an island for artists who are looking for a low cost per square foot in rent, so they were able to continue on their craft."

Since the fire, a handful of art centers around the Bay Area have offered short-term space for the displaced artists.

And Feider is hoping for a silver lining.

"We're losing these spaces all the time and to lose one due to a fire like this it's a real bummer," he said. "And I really hope that the powers that be in the city will come together and make sure that this space has the ability to continue on, and actually build something even cooler and something that can receive more artists."
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