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Devastating Fire in Oakland, California, Plus Safety Tips to Prevent Death in This Situation

By Daphne Yan

On December 2nd, 2016 at a night party in Oakland, California, a fire broke out, killing dozens of people. This fire started in a warehouse, and over 75 people were inside. Officials said that over 40 fatalities were expected. At the end, there were 36 people dead and a few serious injuries.

An electronic music party had been in the warehouse. Around 18 artists lived in the building as an art collective.

A majority of these deaths were on the second floor. The only exit from the second floor were a flight of stairs, which were made out of pallet. Because it was made of narrow wood, it burned quickly, preventing people on the second floor from escaping safely. Some also noticed that the pallet stairs were put together unprofessionally, therefore was not stable enough to aid these people to safety. In addition, the hallways were packed with artwork, furniture, and other items, so it was difficult to reach the stairs, even if it hadn’t burnt.

To prevent death in this type of situation, here are some safety tips:

  1. Avoid it all together
    1. It is fine to go to a party, but make sure that it is safe party beforehand
      1. Make sure that there is more than one exit, so if a fire breaks out, there is a higher chance that you can escape
      2. In addition, make sure that you know where the exits are
      3. Try to avoid a party in a smaller building with many people, or is very crowded
  2. Falling is always better than staying inside a burning room
    1. If you are in the 2nd floor and you are trapped, jump out of a window
      1. Smash a window with a heavy object
      2. Protect your head and try to fall in a position where you can roll once you fall
  3. Last Resort
      1. Rub and pour any liquid (besides something flammable like alcohol) on yourself, cover your mouth, and run for safety
      2. Remember, this is a last resort.

About Shannon Yan

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