OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf spoke to the public on Friday, explaining how the city is safer since the deadly Ghost Ship Fire one year ago.
“Oakland is safer today than it was a year ago,” Schaaf said.
As the first anniversary of the 36 people who lost their lives in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire approaches, Schaaf assembled top officials from multiple departments including fire, police, and housing to give a progress report on changes made to prevent the possibility of another deadly warehouse fire.
“Some highlights are the immediate review of more than 100 priority properties throughout the city,” Schaaf said. “The deeper and investigative compliance work on 32 properties with potential of non-compliance uses as well as the securing of outside resources to address the backlog of mandated inspections.”
Oakland’s new fire chief Darin White says fire code inspections will now take place with the use of new technology.
“The efficiency that is going to be created by using mobile devices in a digital or electronic format,” White said. “We don’t have to go back to the station to do manual input. We can do it right on site.”
The city is also adding six additional fire code inspectors by the end of 2017 and hiring six more fire code inspectors by 2018, bringing the total number of inspectors to 20.
Will that be enough to adequately cover buildings and structures in a city the size of Oakland?
“We projected that will be enough to cover all of the inspections that we are required to do, absolutely,” White said.
In the event that occupants of buildings not in compliance need to relocate, the city’s Housing and Community Development Department steps in.
“Ultimately, the goal is to determine whether or not the housing is safe, and in the case that we determine that it is not safe, then we look at the elements that we put in place to move them forward into finding them housing,” Housing and Community Development Department Director Michelle Byrd said.
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