OAKLAND — Officials in this fire-ravaged city reacted with concern Monday over a report by this news organization that almost 80 percent of firefighter warnings to inspect dangerous conditions went ignored or undone over the last six years.

“It is horrifying,” Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said of the investigation’s findings. “In fact, one of the issues (the news organization) identified is how it gets decided who gets inspected.”

Six months ago, a month after the Ghost Ship warehouse fire killed 36 people, Kaplan proposed reprioritizing which businesses get inspected. Kaplan said she had heard from residents who said their businesses received multiple inspections, while others were never inspected.

“I’ve been getting complaints from random small business owners that say they get fire inspections over and over again for no reason and charged a fee,” Kaplan said Monday.

Councilman Noel Gallo, who represents a district that includes the Ghost Ship warehouse, said the city can’t wait until more fire inspectors are hired. He said the city should hire private inspectors to help the fire department catch up until it can get up to speed, similar to when the California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office were brought to help Oakland police patrol city streets. Gallo met with City Administrator Sabrina Landreth Monday morning.

“I don’t want to sit here idle knowing we have all these properties and facilities challenged when it comes to public safety,” Gallo said.

The Bay Area News Group analysis of city records from 2011 until early this year revealed that more than 200 apartment buildings, housing thousands of residents, were referred to the Fire Prevention Bureau for inspection, but those inspections did not happen.

In all, firefighters referred 879 properties for fire code issues, a number that includes the apartment buildings, plus commercial buildings and several schools. But 696 (79 percent) of the …read more

Source:: East Bay – Politics

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