Former resident details living conditions after Oakland warehouse fire

Posted at 2:24 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 16:24:08-05

As the criminal investigation into the fire at the Ghost Ship Warehouse moves forward in Oakland, California, one woman who used to live there says it shouldn’t have taken a deadly fire for something to be done about living conditions there.

Shelley Mack moved out of the warehouse months before the deadly fire Friday night, but says she always felt it was a possibility.

“It was hell,” Mack says. “That place is a death trap. I don't tell you it's illegal when you first move in.”

She says she found out there were issues when the transformer blew and claims the landlords didn’t call the power company. She says although people lived there, landlords called it an artist space, and asked them to move their things when the owners came to visit. 

“We had advance notice,” Mack recalls. “So we would just make it look like we didn't live there we would hide all the stuff so it didn't look like we lived there and we were just artists 24 hours.”

Mack says she got used to substandard living conditions and even used an LED light to get around since the power went out so often. She moved out, but was heartbroken to hear about the others inside Friday when the deadly fire started.

“I was not surprised I was not shocked,” Mack says. “I knew that that was going to happen. Because it's a tinderbox there were fires there when I was there.”

Now Mack hopes this tragedy brings about change. 

“I hope that every police officer that was there that showed up and especially the ones I told and people told while they were there and were inside there I hope that they feel guilty for every life that was lost.

We’ve requested information about calls to service to the warehouse, but so far have not received a response.