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Oakland Officials Still Searching For The Cause Of A Deadly Blaze


Here's a question people are still asking. What caused a deadly fire Friday night at a concert venue in Oakland, Calif.? No answer yet, but city leaders are releasing public records showing the city knew about potential hazards. The fire at a warehouse known as the Ghost Ship killed 36 people. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: So far, 35 of the 36 bodies found amid the charred debris from the deadly blaze have been identified. Some officials said they believed the origin of the fire was traced back to a set of appliances in the back of the structure, especially an old refrigerator. But last night, Chief Deloach Reed knocked down those reports.


TERESA DELOACH REED: There is no determination of origin or cause in regards to this fire. And if we get any further information, we will keep you updated.

GONZALES: The Ghost Ship warehouse was not a legal residence or event space, and neighbors say they complained for years about blight and suspicious activity surrounding the building. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she is releasing all public planning and building records dating back 30 years related to the warehouse. She confirmed that a building inspector recently did try to get inside the warehouse but was unsuccessful. Schaff said the inspector followed routine procedure and tried to contact the owner, but she did not say whether there was any other action. Richard Gonzales, NPR News, Oakland, Calif. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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