Ghost Ship Blaze Claims AHS Grad

Chase Green Oakland firefighters attack the fire at the warehouse at 1305 31st Ave. in Oakland last Friday night. According to the Alameda County Coroner, 36 people perished in the blaze, including an Alameda native.

 

More than 30 people died in an Oakland warehouse fire Friday, Dec. 3, including Alameda native and Alameda High School graduate, Johnny Igaz. Johnny was a DJ who used the name “Nackt.” He was at the warehouse playing his music in between sets of live music. 

In 2014 Chor Ng leased a warehouse he owns on 31st Avenue in Oakland to Derick Ion Almena. The new landlord had a plan to create an artists’ colony within the space. Attracted by the inexpensive rent and the camaraderie, performers, musicians and singers arrived and began living in the warehouse. 

With no rules to follow, the tenants created a maze of living spaces. Almena participated in all this, moving his wife and children into the ever-evolving warren to live with him. The building’s occupants added an entertainment venue on the second floor. With no permits to fuss with and no inspectors to please, the tenants turned the warehouse into a maze with no way to escape in case of an emergency. 

Just after 11:30 p.m., on Friday, Dec. 3, that emergency came. For at least 36 people there was no escape. The melted aluminum ladder on the outside of the building silently told shocked onlookers that the temperature had risen to at least 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit inside. 

Investigators are focusing on some jury-rigged appliances in the warehouse as the cause of the fire. 

An Alameda Fire Department ladder truck provided mutual aid but did not actively combat the fire.