Oakland Community Grieves for Victims of Deadly Warehouse Fire

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OAKLAND -- Steps away from the scene of the Ghost Ship Fire that tore down an artist warehouse and killed dozens; candles, loving notes and flowers offer a bright spot amid one of Oakland's darkest tragedies.

"It's been really hard and the family has just, it's just a devastating thing that happened," said Merlena Moore.

Moore left a flower for her great-nephew Draven McGill.

So far, he's the youngest victim at just 17 years old.

His father is an Alameda County sheriff's deputy.

"I don't think they'll ever get over this," Moore said.

As the community grieves the loss of mostly artists, musicians and students; some neighbors criticized the converted warehouse, calling it an "eyesore."

"There were syringes in the front, there was trash in the front," one woman said.

Sobbing at the memorial, an Oakland artist encouraged everyone to recognize the loss of so many talented and diverse people.

"We need to love them, and represent them, and honor them, and not everyone feel forced to live in squalor situations because the rent is so crazy and the environment and the world is so difficult," said Jodel De Oliveira.

"Their lives mattered a lot, and this is an outlet for us in a lot of ways," said Chris Dotson.

Dotson calls Ghost Ship a beautiful, accepting space that united all people over a love of art and electronic music.

"These people were incredibly talented artists, musicians, and at the end of the day, it's what I'll remember them for," Dotson said.

As grieving friends, strangers and community members adjust to the reality of this massive loss, help is being offered.

Father Padraig Greene came to the memorial to embrace anyone feeling intense pain in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

"We're there with them today but also afterwards, when the flowers wither and the cards and the calls stop coming, that's when the deep pain of grief is experienced," said Father Greene.

Grief counselors are offering free services to anyone who needs them.