Exclusive: Mother of Oakland fire victim from Orange, New Jersey, speaks out

Tuesday, December 06, 2016 05:56PM
Kemberly Richardson has an exclusive look at the life of a New Jersey man killed in the Oakland fire.


ORANGE, New Jersey - Authorities are working to identify more victims from that horrific fire in Oakland, California.

Among those confirmed dead is a man from Orange, New Jersey.

Alex Ghassan was with his fiancee who was also believed to have been killed in the inferno.

4-year-old Alex and her twin sister Lucy were Ghassan's world.

A video of him teaching his daughter's how to fish is a piece of the past that his mother Emilie Grandchamps is holding onto with every fiber of her body.


Grandchamps now knows for sure what she suspected all along, her only child Alex died in the Oakland warehouse fire.

"I don't have time to cry right now. The only thing I can do is really make sure my granddaughters will be ok. If daddy wasn't home, daddy was on Facetime, if I was having a nightmare, 'call daddy.' Now what do you tell them?" Grandchamps said.

A last bit of video Ghassan shot at the party on Friday night at 10:30 p.m. shows the scene roughly an hour before the inferno killed at least 36 people.

Ghassan was with his fiancee Hanna.

Grandchamps says her family in Finland has been notified and officials believe they've also located Hanna's body.

"I'm outraged, I feel so betrayed," Grandchamps said.

This grieving mother wants answers from the owners of the warehouse and Derick Almena, he managed the building and spoke out on the "Today Show."

"I signed a lease and I got a building that was up to city standards supposedly," Almena said.

But the warehouse was not up to code and had been illegally converted into living spaces.

Now officials are considering filing murder charges.

"You manage a place, you know what's going on, come on, you know what's going on, you don't put the funds out, you can decided I don't want to be a part of that," Grandchamps said.

For now Emilie's priority is his two little angles and making sure her son's legacy lives on. She has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral expenses.

"Alex always said, 'Get ready, I'm going to go out with a bang,' but Jesus, the sky was going to open up for him, and this is what happens just now, with his potential, his growth has been shortened. Why?" Grandchamps said.
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