Indianapolis warehouse developer on Oakland fire: ‘We don’t want that call’

This photo taken from video provided by @Oaklandfirelive shows the scene of a fire in Oakland, early Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. (Provided Photo @Oaklandfirelive via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The deadly fire that ripped through an Oakland, California warehouse this weekend hit home for some Hoosiers.

On Friday, the California building caught fire, and killed nearly 40 people. The Oakland warehouse is a spot where artists could rent out space. It’s a concept also found in Indianapolis.

18 months ago, Larry Jones, of Teagan Developments, started work on the Circle City Industrial Complex. It’s a site that more than 40 artists use for space, as well as several other industries.

Tenants that he wants to protect. “We don’t want that call,” Jones said.

On Monday, Jones walked 24-hour News 8 through the building near Massachusetts Avenue. To get it ready, inspectors had to see, signs, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers.

“They’ll come in here sometime in the next week and do another walk through of the building,” Jones said. In addition to equipment, Jones said it’s important to have clear hallways, lighted signs and plenty of exits.

“A lot of similarities there,” Toni Tomlinson said. “An older warehouse, actually being reutilized for very similar purposes.”

Tomlinson opened Tomlinson Manufacturing more than a year ago inside the Circle City Industrial Complex. Since then, she’s held employee meetings. And this week, she’ll use it as a reminder of how dangerous things can be.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Tomlinson said. “What you’re doing and how that might impact the people that are around you, and even the other businesses around you.”

It’s a message Jones likes to hear. “When I see an Oakland, I’m like, I feel really bad because I know exactly what they were trying to do, and what people there thought they were doing,” Jones said. “At some point there probably should’ve been some sort of better oversight.”

In order to keep insurance costs down, Jones requires his tenets to have their own. This way, not only will a fire marshal, and his agents walk the building, the tenants’ agents will as well.