BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Griffin Madden, 23, who attended Bernards Township schools and graduated from Ridge High School in 2011, was among the 36 residents and visitors who are confirmed to have died in a massive warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. that was hosting a dance party on Dec. 2.
Madden, graduated from the University of California at nearby Berkeley in 2015, was profiled in several media sources in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Dec. 7 article in the San Francisco Gate said the 23-year-old was recalled as gifted and "luminous" by his UC Berkeley professors, and quoted one as saying, “He was probably the most memorable undergraduate student I’ve had in my years of teaching."
In response to a question, Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian confirmed that Madden graduated from Ridge High School in June 2011.
Lived in The Hills
The family lived in The Hills section of the township but later reportedly moved to Morristown.
Madden's interests in the arts and literature reportedly extended to music. Other California media, including the San Jose Mercury News, described him as a DJ and music promoter who also was employed in audience services at the university's theater, Cal Performances.
Artwork on Ridge school website
Some pieces of Madden's artwork that he created in an Advanced Art Studio class while at Ridge are archived on the high school website.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, a yahoo.com piece told the story of how Madden's girlfriend, Saya Tomioka, had through Facebook been able to track down a photo of her and Madden a year earlier during a happy moment on a trip to New York.
Reports say the warehouse in Oakland was illegally being used as a residence, and that the fire may have started by a refrigerator.