As we’re all too painfully aware by now, a devastating fire broke out at a gathering in Oakland, California on Friday night. As of this morning (December 5), the death toll was 36, with a portion of the building’s remnants still left to search.
Many in the Burning Man community have been deeply affected by this tragic event, and many more across our global network have reached out to ask how we’re doing. In our tight-knit community of creatives, each of us has been touched if not directly, through friends of friends. The degrees of separation are minimal and the collective sense that “it could have been any of us” is as real as it is heartbreaking. We’re deeply saddened by this loss and we’re holding the victims and their friends and families close to our hearts.
True to the Burning Man spirit, we’re also asking ourselves what we can do, how we can help.
For those immediately affected, the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau has established a Family Assistance Center with the American Red Cross at 2425 East 12th Street in Oakland. If you are trying to locate a loved one, you may go to the center or call 510-382-3000 for information.
Secondly, there are several active crowdfunding campaigns, including this one being hosted by the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and this one, through which funds are being matched by the Oakland A’s, the Oakland Raiders, and the Golden State Warriors. For those of you in the Bay Area, there will be a vigil tonight from 8 PM – 10 PM at the Lake Merritt Pergola in Oakland. Below is a list of resources collected by some East Bay Burners. Please review and share with those in need.
We also must take a moment to consider what we can do as individuals to try to prevent disasters like this from occurring.
Our resident fire safety manager reminded us this morning that it’s very much about egress, exits, adequate fire suppression, and safety plans. There are little things we can all do to ensure the safety of ourselves and others, and it starts with being alert, aware and not afraid to speak up when we see something that impedes safety.
This is a time that calls for compassion, community support and learning. We can work collaboratively to inform and educate in an effort to prevent these kinds of accidents in the future. This can begin with encouraging venues and community spaces to review their safety protocols and fire response plans. Similarly, we can ask policymakers and agencies to work collaboratively with community spaces, landlords and venues of all kinds in a way that does not drive cultural spaces out of existence, but rather seeks to make a safe and welcome place for them in our cities.
We don’t yet know the scope of the ripple impact of this incident on the Bay Area creative community and beyond. The shock waves are just beginning to be felt, and we will look for ways to participate as the realities unfold.
While we’re all reeling from this terrible news, let’s also take some time to appreciate each other and our precious moments together.
We have already taken steps to reach out to those who have been displaced by this fire and are grieving, and in the days and weeks to come we will consider other ways to support those most affected by this tragedy. If you know of an event, fundraiser, or additional resource to add to this list, please let us know in the comments below.
Update: on December 5th the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced $1.7 million in funding to support sustainable, long-term solutions to creating safe, affordable space for Oakland’s artists and arts organizations. Read the details here.
Check out this ‘Party Fire Safety’ video put together by those in-the-know:
Bookmark and share this video, especially if you are producing events.
Light Vigil for “Ghost Ship” at Lake Merritt Oakland
Monday, December 5th from 8 PM – 10 PM
Lake Merritt Pergola
599 El Embarcadero, Oakland, California 94610
Oakland Fire Benefits: 2 shows in one night!
Kimya Dawson / Torrey Pines / Johnny Physical
Wednesday, Dec 7th from 7 PM – 11 PM
5743 Horton Street, Suite A, Emeryville, California 94608
Oakland Family Dinner / Ghost Ship Relief
Thursday, Dec 8th from 6 PM – 11 PM
First Church Of The Buzzard
2601 Adeline St, Oakland, California 94607
Ghost Ship Arts Collective Benefit Party
Thursday, Dec 8th from 10PM- 4AM
401 6th Street, SF
Ghost Ship Fundraiser in Seattle
Friday, December 9th
Fundraiser featuring MOBY
Sunday, December 11th
444 Jessie St, San Francisco, California 94103
Oakland Underground Benefit concert
Saturday, December 17 from 6 PM – 10 PM
Independent Brewing Company
444 Harrison St, Oakland, California 94607
Oakland United: A Night of Music and Stories
Wednesday, December 14 at 7 PM
If you are able to make a financial donation, there are several online fundraisers:
Gray Area Foundations for the Arts:
Fund for the 20 residents who lost their homes:
Joint fundraising effort sponsored by Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders and the Golden State Warriors:
Burning Man strongly believes in the importance of taking care of ourselves in times of crisis. If you or someone you know is need of emotional support, please consult the list below. While most of the resources listed here are in the Bay Area, there are similar resources available in other communities. Regardless of where you live, if you are struggling, we urge you to reach out.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online chat and phone 1-800-273-8255
Alameda County Crisis Support Services 1-800-309-2131
SF Suicide Prevention (415) 781-0500
Trans Lifeline (for trans people in crisis) 877-565-8860
Access Institute (San Francisco)
Integral Counseling Center at Church Street (San Francisco)
Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy (San Francisco and East Bay)
Blue Oak Therapy Center (Berkeley)
Oakland Community Counseling Center (Oakland)
The Center for Somatic Psychotherapy (San Francisco) is offering free counseling (up to 3 sessions) for friends or family members affected by the fire who feel they are in need of emotional support. Please have them call (415) 217-8895