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Oakland Doesn't Have Enough Fire Inspectors, Union Head Says

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- As accusations fly after the deadly warehouse fire in Oakland, the firefighter's union says there aren't enough inspectors to follow up on complaints.

At a city council committee hearing Tuesday, councilman Noel Gallo's demanded to know more about inspections.

"I am asking that we clearly identify in the city of Oakland, the number of...Staffing levels that we have when it comes to building inspectors, fire marshal's. What are the hours of operations?" Gallo said.

Zac Unger is the Vice President of the Oakland Firefighters Union. He says Oakland doesn't have enough fire inspectors.

"I'm incredibly worried, I think that years of under-investment in the fire marshals office and in fire inspection by our fire chief and our administration has led to extremely dangerous conditions," Unger said.

Budget documents confirm that the city allowed for eight fire inspectors in this year's budget. Unger says only six positions are filled. Anaheim, which has 70,000 fewer people, has eight fire inspectors.

"When we see a code violation on the streets we will send it up to fire marshal's office but it's into the vod - we don't ever know what happens to it, we don't ever hear back, and so these dangerous conditions are allowed to persist," Unger said.

Reportedly the Oakland department of building inspection tried to enter the Ghost Ship to investigate complaints, but was unable to get in. Unger says fire marshal's have broader power to enter those types of buildings.

We reached out to the city for comment, but have not heard back.

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