OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Officials say it will take days to figure out how many people died in the fire that broke out during a rave concert inside an Oakland artist collective known as ‘ The Ghost Ship.’

Some people were able to escape and their harrowing stories are starting to emerge.

One of the survivors of the blaze said he is lucky to be alive.

Artist Bob Mule lives at the Ghost Ship. He said he smelled the smoke and began to yell and try to get others out of the building. Once outside, he even ran back to get his computer and other equipment. That’s when he stopped to help a fellow artist.

Bob choked back tears as he explained how he was forced to leave his friend behind.

He said his fellow member of the collective had broken his ankle and was calling for help.

“He was pretty much like my neighbor in the space next to me. I was pulling him out — he was a larger gentleman and there was a lot of stuff in way of the fire.”

“The flames were (sighs) too much, too much smoke and I had to — I had to… pretty much let him….”

Bob’s voice breaks. He pauses.

When asked if he thinks his neighbor made it out, he says “I haven’t seen him and there’s been flames shooting out of the building the past 30 minutes. I hope… I hope he’s okay.”

Overcome with emotion, Bob’s voice cracks. He believes the clothes on his back saved his life.

“I got some pretty narly burns,” he says, turning around to show his back. “I’m also glad I had this vest on. I got blistered from trying to pull him (the neighbor) out.

No word if Bob’s neighbor was ever accounted for.

Bob’s story is just one account. Others have taken to social media to share their stories.

Many survivors say there was “zero visibility” inside the warehouse because of the “rolling pitch black smoke.” They described it as a “hotbox of panic.”

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Deadly Oakland Warehouse Fire

Comments (3)
  1. These “artists lofts in old warehouses” tend to be packed full of flammable chemicals and overloaded electrical outlets. That’s natural, given the types of residents (graphics, painters, sculptors, taggers, garage bands). A deadly fire like this is not a surprise.
    This is why “live where you work” can turn into a funeral.

    Maybe a pot honey oil lab? Or one of those vaping e-cigs ignited by itself?

  2. Time to sue the rave concert promoter and the building owner…

  3. Owner says she was not aware people were living there. Hard to imagine…