Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020
News Every Day |

Audit: After Ghost Ship fire, Oakland still failing to inspect buildings

Audit: After Ghost Ship fire, Oakland still failing to inspect buildings

Oakland’s fire department is failing to inspect hundreds of schools and apartment buildings as required by state law and despite promises to fix problems exposed after the deadly 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire, according to a city audit released Wednesday.

The audit found that 51% of all buildings the department is required to inspect each year went unchecked for three consecutive years, even as the fire department increased the number of inspectors it has.

The Dec. 2, 2016 inferno, which killed 36 people, uncovered flaws in Oakland’s inspections of buildings in its flatlands. In the days after the blaze, city officials discovered that the Fruitvale District warehouse had never been inspected and was not on the city’s internal list of properties to inspect.

Although the building was zoned strictly for commercial use, about two dozen people lived at the warehouse and held parties on the second floor. Pianos, trailers and other flammable material were packed in the cluttered warehouse, which drew its electricity from a power source in the auto body shop next door through a hole in the wall.

Three months later, in March 2017, a fire at a halfway house on San Pablo Avenue killed four people and displaced dozens of others, some of whom became homeless. A fire official’s warning that the building was dangerous did not prompt an inspection until three days before the blaze. Oakland officials faced criticism for inspecting the property sooner.

Now, nearly four years after the Ghost Ship blaze, City Auditor Courtney Ruby’s report shows Oakland still has a long way to go to fulfill its pledge to improve building safety and reform the Fire Prevention Bureau. That branch of the fire department is responsible for inspecting buildings in Oakland’s flatlands and vegetation management in the hills, where a firestorm in 1991 killed 25 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes.

State law requires local fire departments to annually check K-12 campuses, apartment buildings, hotels and high rises for fire safety. The city audit looked at three years worth of inspection records and found that while Oakland had inspected more buildings in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire, the majority of state-mandated inspections were not being done.

Between September 2018 and September 2019, 72% of schools — or 285 of 396 campuses — and 70% of apartment buildings were not checked for fire safety, according to the audit. The majority of the missed properties are in some of Oakland’s lowest-income neighborhoods.

In the Fruitvale District, where the Ghost Ship warehouse is located, 273 buildings were not inspected, the auditor found. That was nearly as many that went unchecked in downtown Oakland, a total of 276. Auditors found 292 buildings weren’t inspected in a zip code including West Oakland and Chinatown.

“We found that about half of the properties that the State Fire Code or the City’s Municipal Code has deemed high risk enough to be inspected annually, received no inspections for at least three consecutive years,” Ruby wrote.

Attorney Mary Alexander, who represents families of victims in both the Ghost Ship and San Pablo Avenue fires, said she “hoped the city would do more” and keep promises it made in 2016. Oakland reached a $32.7 million settlement with families of 32 of the 36 victims in July, one of the largest settlement figures in the city’s history.

The audit’s findings are similar to a 2018 Bay Area News Group investigation, which analyzed inspection records from 11 of the Bay Area’s largest fire agencies and found that fire departments across the region routinely missed yearly deadlines on inspections.

The news agency’s investigation prompted Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, to sponsor a bill to require local fire departments to make an annual report of how many state-mandated safety inspections they conduct each year.

The audit also found that the Oakand Unified School District has not been responsive in fixing fire safety violations such as missing fire extinguishers and broken fire alarm systems. According to Ruby, the City Administrator’s Office and Oakland Fire have agreed to implement 29 of her 30 recommendations.

“Together, we must ensure a sense of urgency and accountability is ignited at the Fire Prevention Bureau,” Ruby wrote in a letter to city leaders. “We cannot look back and say we knew better, we must look forward and provide our residents and businesses with the assurance that the City is doing all it can to protect them.”



Read also

CNCKAD V17.3.284 x64

Ant Group to raise $17.2 billion in Shanghai in China’s biggest IPO

NYPD union rips suspension of ‘Trump 2020’ cop as ‘double standard’



News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro




Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here