Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In the News: CBS

Hundreds Gather At Vigils For Ghost Ship Fire Victims

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Across the Bay Area, friends and family gathered at candlelit vigils to mourn those who died in the Oakland warehouse fire.
Lights lifted to the sky Monday night around Oakland’s Lake Merritt as at least a thousand mourners gathered to pay tribute to those who died in the Ghost Ship fire.
For days, the local arts community in the East Bay has been in shock. Monday night, they were in mourning.

An artist who calls herself Mz. Butterfly told KPIX 5 the creative community in Oakland is close. She was grieving for sound engineer Barrett Clark, one of those still missing and unaccounted for in the wake of the fire.

“It’s affecting the community deeply,” said Mz. Butterfly. “Everyone in Oakland and beyond has been affected by this tragedy.”

She also knows Derrick Ion Almena, the controversial master tenant who has faced backlash for throwing the party in a warehouse that was not up to code.

Continuing Coverage: Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire

“All I can tell you is that he’s a very horrible person and he has a long history of harming people,” she said.
Monday night, amid the anger there was also love. One man held a sign that read “HUGS HERE.” Oakland resident Chris Edwards, who said he lost friends in the fire, handed out free candy.
“Lost a lot of friends and my friends lost friends,” said Edwards. “I’ve just come out to show love for the people who were lost.”

He, like many others at the vigil, was still reeling.
“It’s been intense. The loss of life has been devastating,” said Edwards. “And beyond that I worry about the artist community and if it’s gonna be destroyed.”

Edwards said he has already heard tales of city officials knocking on the doors of other artist’s compounds in search of violations.

His fear: that the ripple effects of this tragedy have just begun.

As many as 50 people gathered in San Francisco’s Castro District Monday evening for a candlelight vigil in honor of Oakland fire victims.

The vigil at Harvey Milk Plaza, hosted by Rev. Megan Rohrer and other local transgender religious leaders, highlighted the fact that many of the victims of Friday’s three-alarm fire and others affected by it were transgender persons.

Rohrer, the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran Church, said she had been called Friday to help minister to the families and friends of victims. Authorities have found 36 bodies so far in the wreckage of the Fruitvale warehouse art space known as the “Ghost Ship,” which caught fire Friday around 11:30 p.m. during a party and electronic music show.

“I heard of the great need for there to be a space for the transgendered individuals who are mourning their friends, who might not have a safe space to mourn in,” Rohrer said. “Who might, in addition to their love of music and art, be in a warehouse because it was one of the spaces that they felt safe in.”
Rohrer noted that one of those confirmed dead in the fire, Cash Askew, was a popular transgendered musician.

Askew performed with the group Them Are Us Too.

Rohrer noted that authorities were taking care, as they identified the dead, to confirm the preferred gender and names of transgender individuals.

In some cases, however, she said identification and notification of family had been slowed by difficulty in determining individual’s legal names.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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