Cal students hold vigil for warehouse victims
University of California at Berkeley students and staff held a vigil Thursday in remembrance of five people with university ties who were among the 36 killed in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland over the weekend, university officials said.
The victims of the fire included current students Vanessa Plotkin and Jenny Morris, recent alumni Griffin Madden and David Cline, and a volunteer DJ at campus radio station KALX, Chelsea Faith Dolan.
Students gathered in a light rain in Sproul Plaza at noon Thursday.
“We send our prayers, condolences and support to the families and loved ones of these cherished individuals — our friends and colleagues,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said in a letter to the campus community on Wednesday.
“We also know that many of our campus community members had strong ties of family or friendship to other victims,” he said.
Those killed were all attending an electronic music dance party at the warehouse that night.
Plotkin, 21, and Morris, 20, were undergraduate roommates who had gone to the show together. Plotkin was from Lakewood, California and was majoring in sociology. Morris was from Foster City and had studied at UC Santa Cruz this year.
Both worked as volunteers at KALX as well.
Dolan, 33, lived in Marin County and was a DJ who made music under the name Cherushii who was scheduled to perform at the event that night.
Friends and family remembered her for her effervescent personality and colorful outfits.
The two alumni both graduated in May 2015. Cline, 24, had graduated with degrees in computer science and cognitive science. Madden, 23, graduated with degrees in philosophy and Slavic language and literature. He was also an employee at Cal Performances.
Madden’s girlfriend drew attention when she posted a plea to Facebook for a photo of a kiss she and Madden had shared in New York City last year. The photographer had showed them the snap, but didn’t give them a copy, and after his death she thought somehow she could track it down.
She was right. She posted the photo in a follow-up post, and wrote, “I can still feel the rush of life from that very moment. The lights filled my heart with excitement; the massive number of people energized every fiber of my being. And right beside me was my best friend, my brightest love.” Parents of the victims arrived at the vigil today to honor their lost children and others jotted down messages on posters set aside inside Zellerbach Hall.
All of the victims killed in the fire have been identified. Search and rescue crews finished searching the building on Wednesday morning after finding 36 bodies inside.