Oakland warehouse fire: Two NJ men still among the missing
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA — Two New Jersey men remain among the missing following Friday night's warehouse fire in California that killed 36 people.
Only seven victims of the fire, which broke out during a dance party, have so far been identified by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau. Many more remain missing. Friends and family members have been posting to social media, making pleas for information about the missions people's whereabouts.
The dilapidated warehouse was known as the "Ghost Ship," where several artists lived and worked.
Among the missing are former Morristown resident Griffen Madden, who graduated the University of California-Berkeley, in 2015 and Alex Ghassan, video producer who moved to the Bay Area from Jersey City.
Madden's godfather, George Hopkins, said his Griffin's Mother, Katy Madden, was on her way Sunday from her home in Wisconsin to join her husband and other family members in Oakland. Hopkins said Griffen Madden's parents, who are divorced, and a brother left New Jersey several years ago. His other brother still lives in the Morristown area.
"It's pretty random. Not anything you ever really expect," Hopkins said, adding that the entire family was into progressive music even back when they were in New Jersey. Madden was a club DJ.
Ghassan, a video producer and with two 4-year-old twin girls, was at the warehouse with his fiancé Hannah, ABC 7yewitness News reports. The mother of his children lives in Hoboken.
His mother, Emilie Grandchamp, told ABC 7 Eyewitness News "I've prepared myself for the worst, and I pray for the best,"
Fire officials are asking those with missing friends and family to provide a DNA sample to help with the identification process.
Visitors and former denizens said the warehouse was a cluttered death trap, piled with scrap wood, a mess of snaking electric cords and only two exits.
The building was often freezing cold. Water and power were sometimes stolen from neighbors, who would get angry and shut them off. Once, a generator blew up, and residents quickly doused the flames, a former tenant said.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.