Oakland fire marshal resigns amid criticism

 

Oakland’s fire marshal, who came under heavy criticism following the deadly Ghost Ship and San Pablo Avenue fires, has resigned, the department said Friday morning.

Oakland Fire Marshal Miguel Trujillo resigned effective today, and Fire Chief Darin White will take over his duties until interim and permanent candidates can be hired, the chief said.

The chief said hiring a new fire marshal will help him reorganize the department to focus on such things as strong leadership and oversight and improved accountability.

The department’s goals include hiring six additional inspectors for fiscal year 2018-19, streamlining permit processes and overseeing vegetation management and inspection.

Thirty-six people died in a fire in the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland’s Fruitvale district in December 2016. There are no records of the fire department ever inspecting the warehouse at 1315 31st Ave., according to the fire department.

By law, the department wasn’t required to inspect the property, then-Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed said at the time.

A March 27 blaze in 2017 at a large apartment building at 2551 San Pablo Ave. claimed four lives, injured seven and displaced more than 80 people. Residents had previously complained about unsafe living conditions.

Former Chief Deloach-Reed came under pressure after the Ghost Ship fire. She went on leave until she retired in May 2017, and White succeeded Deloach-Reed.

At his swearing-in in October 2017, White said he wanted to restore the community’s trust in the fire department.

The department also drew criticism after the killing of one off-duty Oakland firefighter and the shooting injury of another in San Jose, and has sustained criticism for many years related to prevention measures in the Oakland hills.