On December 2nd, 2016 an absolute tragedy occurred. A 10,000-square-foot warehouse known as the Ghost Ship in Oakland, California caught fire and burned, taking 36 lives with it. Ghost Ship was primarily utilized by artist collective Satya Yuga and was a beautiful place for art and creativity to thrive.
The night of the fire record label 100% Silk was hosting an electronic dance show with approximately 50 people in attendance. The exact cause of the fire is still unknown according to the Oakland Fire Department. Among the suspected causes are faulty wiring in the building and various electrical appliances such as a refrigerator. Multiple factors contributed to making the building difficult to escape. The main stairway was constructed primarily of wooden pallets, and neither the front or back stairway had clearly marked exits. Visitors to the warehouse described the layout as somewhat of a maze. Fire officials said they did not hear the sound of fire alarms.
The fire has been absolutely devastating to the creative community in Oakland, The San Francisco Bay Area, and California at large. The ripple effects are being felt throughout as cities such as Los Angeles are being systematically combed for warehouse creative spaces and being issued warrants to evacuate and cease operation. Purple 33, a venue on the west side of Culver City that Producers Social has called home for the better part of 2016 was one of the creative spaces that is now shut down.
As a community, we need to build more creative spaces that are up to code and safe. We the Artists of the Bay Area (WABA) is an organization ensuring just that.
It is important that we remember this tragedy’s victims; the works of art, instruments, and most importantly, human life. It is imperative we take steps as a community to prevent anything like it from happening again. Producers Social extends its most heartfelt empathy to all those affected.
To learn more about We the Artists of the Bay Are (WABA) and how you can be involved please visit http://artistsofthebay.org/ for more information.