Senator McGuire Chairs Oversight Hearing on “Ghost Ship” Fire this Wednesday

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sacramento, CA – On December 2, 36 people perished in a warehouse fire at an unpermitted live-work space known as the “Ghost Ship” in Oakland. This Wednesday, Senator Mike McGuire will chair an oversight hearing of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, which will discuss this horrific and tragic event. The hearing will be focused on how to prevent another tragic incident from happening again in any of the hundreds to thousands of similar live-work structures that exist throughout the Golden State.

The hearing – “Preventing Another Ghost Ship Fire: Reviewing Local and State Regulation to Advance Solutions” – is intended to identify obstacles and possible reforms needed to ensure residents are kept safe and that local governments in California are properly equipped to inspect buildings and enforce building and fire codes . 

“The Ghost Ship Fire was terrible and tragic and I cannot imagine the pain so many families continue to live through. The terrible event may have happened in Oakland, but we know there are countless buildings like the ‘Ghost Ship’ in dozens of communities all throughout this state that continue to exist and every level of government must work together on reforms,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “This hearing will be the first step to create policies that will keep residents safe and allow cities and counties to develop robust building inspection and code enforcement programs.”

The Committee will hear from the father of a victim of the fire, the City of Oakland, local and state public safety professionals who perform fire and building code inspections and enforce other codes. The committee will then hear testimony from organizations who represent those who own business properties in California along with architects.

While the Ghost Ship fire was the single deadliest U.S. fire in recent years, other cities in California have faced challenges carrying out effective inspection programs and ensuring fire and building code compliance in their jurisdictions.

Presenters at Wednesday’s Oversight Hearing include:

  • Edwin Bernbaum, father of Jonathan Bernbaum
  • Claudia Cappio, Assistant City Administrator, City of Oakland
  • Dennis Mathisen, State Fire Marshal
  • Michael DuRee, President, California Fire Chiefs Association
  • Kerry Simpson, Neighborhood Services Manager, City of Rancho Cordova
  • Shane Diller, Assistant Director for Development Services, City of Elk Grove
  • Matthew Hargrove, Sr. Vice President for Governmental Affairs, California Business Properties Association
  • Thomas Dolan, Principal, Thomas Dolan Architecture

The hearing will be held Wednesday, March 15 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 112 and will be livestreamed online at