OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Here are some of the names, faces and stories of the vibrant, creative young men and women lost in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire.
Amanda Kershaw Allen
Portrait and event photographer Amanda Kershaw Allen was from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. She graduated from Bridgewater State University in 2004 and moved with her husband to San Francisco in 2008.
Her husband, Andy Kersshaw, a DJ describes the 34-year-old as vibrant and magnetic.
“We are all praying for a miracle and coming together as a family,” said her mother Linda Smith Regan.
Cash Askew was founder of Them Are Us Too, a dream-pop band signed to the independent Dais Records label. The company confirmed her death in a statement.
“We will never be the same. Completely devastated by the loss of Cash Askew,” the label said. “She was one of the most talented and loving people we’ve ever known. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts, along with all those lost in the Oakland tragedy.
She was 22.
Friends of Askew’s family have also set up a YouCaring fundraising campaign to help support the parents during their time of grief.
Jonathan Bernbaum graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2008. He is an alumni of Berkeley High. According to Berkeleyside, the 34-year-old was at the concert “mixing lights and video projections for the electronic music sets.”
Friends and former classmates planned a candlelight and laser vigil for the esteemed artist. Bernbaum’s last public post on Facebook said he was at Standing Rock, ND on October 31. One friend commented, “Be careful out there!!! We are rooting for you!”
Em Bohlka was a poet who worked as a barista and baker.
The 33-year-old transgender woman grew up in Claremont, California and earned a degree in English from UC Riverside and a master’s degree in literature from Cal Poly Pomona.
She attended the event with fellow barista Donna Kellogg, who also died in the fire.
Jahanbani, her partner of 7 years described her as an “infectious, funny sweet person.”
“Em was the most caring, compassionate person I’ve ever met,” said Jahanbani. “The most infectious, funny sweet person.”
Brandon Chase Wittenauer
Musician Brandon “Chase” Wittenaur was an electronic musician whose stage name was Nex Iguolo. He was part of the band Symbiotix. Fungi.
The 32-year-old from Hayward was described by a friend as “a sweet and sensitive artist [who] embodied love and positivity,” according to People Magazine.
Barrett Clark is a freelance sound engineer. He lives in Oakland and grew up in Santa Rosa. A friend described him as “a true pillar of the Bay Area DIY music scene for many, many years.” Clark worked at such venues as the Bottom of the Hill, Mezzanine, The Independent, 1015 Folsom and many others. He did the sound for “too many underground events to name, from across the Bay Area to deep in the forests of the Sierra.”
Barrett’s friend said he is “the kind of person who would hurt himself lugging the best mobile sound system you ever heard to your show just to make it sound incredible.”
David Clines, an alumnus of UC Berkeley, was identified among the victims. He was 35.
According to the Daily Californian he recently graduated with a double major in cognitive and computer sciences.
Cline attended the party with another UC student, Griffin Madden
Chelsea Faith Dolan
Chelsea Faith Dolan was a San Francisco DJ and producer. She grew up in Marin and when she wasn’t doing her music, she worked in an ice cream shop in Fairfax.
The 33-year-old had truly earned the respect of her fellow DJs, said Nihar Bhatt, and was working hard to get more women into the male-dominated business by mentoring and starting a musicians’ learning group.
“She really was willing to give much more than she received,” said Bhatt.
Michah Danemayer was a 28-year-old promoter who was performing at the show before the fire.
The Massachusetts native studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He lived in Oakland where he was a curator and producer at Obscura Machina a “focused / concentrated vision that brings together
a collection of up and coming hardware centric music presentations.”
On the Facebook page set up for his private memorial, a friend wrote, “our beautiful mutant comrade, passed back to his original galaxy of hardware and silver glitter.”
Riley Fritz was a musician and artist. She moved to Oakland from Connecticut to be with friends. Friends knew her as Feral Pines.
Her brother described the 29-year-old transgender woman as “a kind beautiful person who had the strength to be her true self even when she knew that was not an easy path. He also said she was the happiest she had been in a few years.
Riley graduated from Staples High School in Westport in 2005, and the School for the Visual Arts in Manhattan in 2010.
Producer, director Alex Ghassan was with his fiancee Hanna Henrikka Ruax the night of the fire at the Ghost Ship. Ghassan has worked with Spike Lee and Talib Kweli. His mother says he often goes out of his way to help others.
He has lived off and on in Oakland. He and Ruax were preparing to move to Europe. According to his roommate, Ghassan was “fed up with the U.S.” He was a music producer and most recently a contributing documentary producer for KQED. Ghassan was among the ten victims identified by the Alameda County Coroner Monday evening.
Nick Gomez-Hall played guitar and played with a band called Nightmom. The 25-year-old graduated from Brown University in 2013 with a degree in American Studies. He attended Coronado High School in Southern California.
In Rhode Island, Gomez-hall worked as a site coordinator for an elementary school after-school program. He recently moved back to California.
Michela Gregory was at the Ghost Ship the night of the fire with her boyfriend Alex Vega. The 20-year-old attended San Francisco State and studied Child Development and worked at Urban Outfitters.
Gregory was from San Bruno and lived with her family in South San Francisco.
According to SF Gate, her friend Lili Reyes who texted her just before the event, described her as “a kindhearted girl with so much life. Everyone she met, she has made such an impact on them.”
Sara Hoda of Walnut Creek taught at a Montessori school and liked to garden. The 30-year-old also helped start up an collective for artists and creatives to avoid the high cost of rent in the Bay Area. Friends describe her as a “sweet person.”
Travis Hough was an electronic music artist who died in the fire. He was behind the band Ghost of Lightning and also went by the name Travis Blitzen. He was 35.
DJ Johnny Igaz
Johnny Igaz is the resident DJ at Outpost. The 34-year-old goes by the name of Nackt. He worked as a record buyer at Green Apple Books and Music in addition to working as a music analyst and producer at Oakland-based internet radio company Pandora. Friends describe him as a “beautiful soul” and a “true friend.”
Ara Christina Jo
Ara Christina Jo is the co-director at Sgraffito, and helped organize the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest. She also works at The Ink Stone in Berkeley.
A co-worker describes her as “an incredibly energetic person, who can cheer up a room just by existing — a lot of energy packed into that small body. Jo’s website showcases her graphics, illustrations, and arts and crafts.
Under the site’s ‘About’ tab, Jo writes, “balance of the eye is the priority– working hard keeps me from insanity whether on paper, your face, or in pixels, it’s sweat that turns into lead crystals. jane of all trades, makin’ it rain; with friends: everything’s to gain. get me alone i’ll hit it on the nose considering your input ’til you regard it as Good.
Donna Kellogg was from Oakland, California and graduated from San Francisco State University where she studied photography. A friend who dated her for several years describe her as a “super awesome, fiery, intelligent redhead who wanted to be a healer.”
The 32-year-old was currently studying nutrition and interested in holistic healing. Kellogg’s mother, Susan Slocum said “she was full of life.”
Slocum told People Magazine, her daughter was at The Ghost Ship with her boyfriend but he has not been identified. “Several of her friends died in the fire, but it was her roommate who told us that she was missing,” Slocum said. “She was one of the few that made it out.”
Kellogg’s stepfather, Keith Slocum, said Donna was a “free-spirited girl” who loved music, the outdoors and biking.
Edmond Lapine was described by friends as a passionate music lover. The 34-year-old was remembered by Calvin Johnson, his former boss at K Records in Olympia, Washington as a cool dresser and someone with “an innate feel for music and people.
He studied at Evergreen State College, in Olympia.
The quote on his Facebook page reads, “I may never amount to anything but at least I have a good taste in things.”
Griffin Sean Madden
Griffin Sean Madden graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a degree in Philosophy and slavic languages and literature.
According to AP, he was a DJ and promoter. Fellow DJ Nihar Bhatt said,”He took a lot of inspiration from the people around him. He wanted to bring in the next generation of things.”
Another friend on Facebook referred to the 23-year-old as “the brightest light of all…I hear you and I feel you. Our community mourns.”
UC Berkeley student Jenny Morris was among the three current students listed among the missing in the wake of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire. On Monday, the Daily Californian reported that she was among the victims of the fatal fire according to a friend. Morris, a 21-year-old from Foster City, was positively identified by the Alameda County Coroner Monday night.
Benjamin was the lead singer of the band Introflirt. He was known to some as Charlie Prowler, while others called him Ben Benjamin.
His last album, Temporary Heaven, created with bandmate Nicole Renai Siegrist (aka Denalda), “featured eight tracks of high-powered croonwave,” according the band’s Facebook page.
Siegrist is among the missing in the fire. The two went to the show with Travis Hough and DJ Johnnie Igaz, both of whom died in the blaze.
His sister wrote the following on his Facebook page: “He was uncompromising in his search for life and trust in himself. He lived fully and well. He was brave. He took better care of himself and those around him than anyone I’ve ever met. Do the same for yourselves now.”
Runnels was originally from Mariaville, New York. He was 32.
Hanna Henriikka Ruax
Hanna Henriikka Ruax was with her fiance Alex Ghassan the night of the fire. The pair had been dating long-distance and she arrived in Oakland in November.
Ruax was a yoga instructor, an entrepreneur and a social activist. She recently organized a large protest against neo-Nazis in Finland. Her roommate described her as “very gentle.”
Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye
Jennifer Kiyomi Tanouye was at the Ghost Ship doing nail art on the night of the fire. She had set up a booth on the second floor of the warehouse. The 31-year-old from Oakland could paint amazing designs and posted dozens of pictures from her ‘Underground Nail Bar‘ on Instagram.
She loved her Pomeranian dog, ‘Jejeune.’
Tanouye was a music manager at Shazam and loved her work. She graduated from Mills College in 2007 with a degree in Biology and a minor in intermedia art and film studies.
Elizabeth L. Hillman, president of Mills said Tanouye was “a bright light among the many in the Oakland arts and music community and she will be missed.”
According to a friend, Peter Wadsworth was “thoughtful, caring, and always willing to lend a helping hand.” The 38-year-old from Cohasset Massachusetts moved to California a few years ago.
According to his Facebook page, he studied psychology at Harvard and Reed College. Wadsworth also worked as a designer with a non-profit theater company in Boston. Bob Mule, a tenant at The Ghost Ship, tearfully described trying to help rescue Wadsworth escape the fire, but tragically, could not.
Mule said Wadsworth had broken his ankle during the ordeal and he could not get him out.
Nicholas D. Walrath
Nicholas Walrath graduated from MIT with a degree in Physics and Philosophy in 2007 and got his J.D. from NYU School of Law in 2013.
The 31-year-old was a native of Pittsburgh. He texted his girlfriend, Alexis Abrams-Bourke from inside the burning warehouse, saying there was a fire and that he loved her. “I feel like my life has been ripped from me,” she said later.
Abrams-Bourke described Walrath as someone who wanted to help other people and said his goal was to work for the ACLU. He clerked for District Judge Jon Tiger who praised his “brilliant intellect, cogent writing skills, curiosity and relentless work ethic.
Walrath was currently working at the San Francisco law firm Durie Tangri. On their website, they wrote Walrath had “already had shown himself to be a fine lawyer as well as a good and caring person.”