I-Team: Records show 20 building complaints where at least 3 died in Oakland fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- As with last December's deadly Ghost Ship Fire, there were repeated complaints about the conditions at the three-story apartment building where three people are now confirmed dead from a fire broke out Monday morning.

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The ABC7 News I-Team has obtained exclusive video inside the building before the fire, which you can watch above.

The tenants complained about the conditions inside -- the owner was trying to evict them. A nasty battle took a deadly turn when the building went up in flames Monday morning.

The I-Team caught up to Pastor Jasper Lowery at the scene of the fire. He came with other clergy from Urojas Ministries to see the damage to their transitional housing program.

When asked how he felt about what happened Lowery said, "This is ridiculous. It's just another episode, type of Ghost Ship -- if you want my honest opinion. And we tried to prevent it and no one is listening."

The first two floors of the building contained the Urojas Program, to provide housing to people recently out of jail, those with mental health or drug problems, or those who would otherwise be homeless, but building fell into disrepair.

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"We definitely talk to the powers that be to let them know that we are having issues in this building," said Lowery. "And since December, that's what we've been doing, is trying to get some assistance with it."

In fact, going back 10 years, city records show 20 complaints including rodent infestations, leaking sewer pipes, mold, mildew, no heat, no hot water, and electrical issues. The complaints cited holes in the walls and one described the entire building structure as, "unstable."

Former residents and their families gave the I-Team video that showed filthy conditions inside the building long before the fire -- holes in the walls and ceilings, rodent droppings.

The I-Team met an Oakland port worker as he was searching for his brother, a resident of the Urojas program who suffers from schizophrenia and disappeared after the fire. The brother saw the bad conditions of the building and complained.

"I know I'm going to go home and I'm probably break down in tears, cause right now I'm holding it in because I know for a fact that there's nothing's going to be done and that's the sad part," he said. "That a lot of people are going to be living on the street.

The I-Team reached out to the building's owner, Keith Kim, but did not hear back. He told the Bay Area News Group that the non-profit was behind on their rent. Clearly, a battle underway, Pastor Lowery even planned a news conference for this coming Friday to complain about the conditions, then the fire started.

RELATED: All 36 victims in Ghost Ship warehouse fire identified

Click here for more of ABC7 News' stories, photos, and videos on the Ghost Ship fire.
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