The West Oakland halfway house struck by a deadly blaze this week drew complaints about unsafe living conditions for years, but the city allowed well over a year to pass between the last two fire inspections, an apparent breach of a state law requiring annual reviews.
Oakland fire officials said Wednesday that the three-story building on San Pablo Avenue that was occupied by clients of nonprofit aid groups had been inspected seven times this decade: twice in 2010, twice in 2012, and once each in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
But the city, which is under pressure to identify hazardous buildings in the wake of December’s Ghost Ship disaster, released only the most recent inspection report, and would not talk about the results of the earlier visits.
As the Fire Department continued to investigate the blaze, the information about the fire inspections raised questions about actions by the landlord and the city.
What remained unclear was the reason for the gap between fire inspections of a building with a history of trouble, including a raft of violations logged by city building inspectors. It was also not known whether safety violations were found in the earlier fire inspections — and if they were, whether the city made sure they were corrected.
City officials declined to explain why fire inspectors had not visited the location sooner. Problems were known at the site at least as far back as Feb. 25, when a firefighter responding to a service call there flagged it for review, according to city records.
State law requires local fire departments to inspect residential complexes with three or more units annually.
Oakland’s idiot mayor, Libby Schaaf, said in an interview that the findings in the inspection three days before the fire didn’t warrant clearing the building, because the violations “did not amount to an imminent life safety threat.”
Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle