Oakland official says 200 warehouse structures have code violations

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Some residents in the Fruitvale area of Oakland and even one city official are saying the Ghost Ship warehouse fire is everyone's fault for turning a blind eye to code enforcement.

PHOTOS: A look inside the Oakland Ghost Ship collective warehouse

ABC7 News has learned there are hundreds of other warehouses that can be just as much as a danger.

Neighbors told ABC7 News that they filed complaints about the warehouse before the deadly fire and the danger it posed.

"We have documented it, we have turned it in, we have called it in. I have brought police personally to it to shut this place down and get them to remove that debris," Oakland city councilmember Noel Gallo said.

RELATED: Ex-employees say Ghost Ship founder disregarded fire hazard warnings

Gallo has lived on these streets all his life and he says Oakland needs to hold landlords more accountable. "They know what the rules are, but in Oakland we have an attitude of catch me if you can," he said.

Gallo says there may be 200 other warehouse-type buildings in Oakland that aren't up to code, many housing marijuana growing or manufacturing operations.

Members of the nearby 7th Day Adventist Church marched to the burned warehouse to say prayers and then clean up the neighborhood like they do every Sunday.

RELATED: Oakland fire helpline, information for families

They described the inside of the warehouse as a tangle of electrical cords with several RVs parked on the bottom floor. "There were a couple of families living on top of the building and there was some people from Guatemala," neighbor Eddie Fernandez said.

Many believed they would have been sleeping there despite the noise from the concert.

Some people said that's just part of life in a city where high rents are forcing many to make due in crowded, unsafe buildings converted illegally by landlords. "He turns a two bedroom into a five bedroom and does the wiring himself and so much power going in surges them out and they just catch on fire," Oakland resident Robert Calderon said.

That's what this man says happened when his room in a house we was staying in caught fire. He says he was charged $550 a month for a 10 by 10 foot space and now he's living out of his van.

But he says his landlord is still collecting rent from new tenants. "We should not be waiting for tragedy. We should be more active as a community and hold these buildings accountable," community leader Jose Ortiz said.

High rents in Oakland have forced many workers and artists to look for alternate places to live and sometimes this means living in warehouses like the one that caught on fire.

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