City says no one should have been living inside Oakland warehouse that caught fire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A warehouse at West and Apgar Streets in Oakland has been cited for housing, building and zoning violations that must be corrected.

And now the city wants to hear from the property owner.

Overnight flames ripped through the building.

Eight people escaped the fire. One was treated for minor burns and the city says no one should have been inside.

Just a week and a half ago neighbors met with Councilman Dan Kalb to express their concerns.

"Some of it had to do with the warehouse here and people that were inappropriately living in the warehouse," said Kalb.

The property was red-tagged in April of 2019, then again on Nov. 28 according to the Oakland Fire Department. That's when 20 people living inside were removed from the building which is not suitable for living.

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Tenant Michael Prince says owner John Favors told people to come back after a couple of hours.

"He was charging $10 a night for people to sleep on that couch right there and that couch right there," said Prince.

"The owner has been what I would say to put it nicely less than cooperative in keeping people out of the building and so that makes it harder for the city to enforce those rules," said Kalb.

Oakland's Assistant Fire Marshal says the city is doing what it can.

"They have to allow him a chance to fix it," said Emmanuel Watson, Oakland's Assistant Fire Marshal.

ABC7 News tried to reach the owner by phone Friday but could not.

The warehouse is now boarded up and fenced off.

Firefighters have not determined the cause yet. They say it could take a while due to the amount of debris and structural damage.

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