Judge on Chagrin Falls native killed in Oakland fire: ‘This one hurts’

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CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — Among those reported missing and presumed dead in the recent Oakland warehouse fire, is an artist who grew up in northeast Ohio.

Billy Dixon was a 2000 graduate of Chagrin Falls High School, where he played in the band, and began to show the artistic talents that would eventually inspire him to move to the Bay Area in California.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill says Dixon grew up with his children in Chagrin Falls.  Like everyone else who knew Billy, the judge assumed the young artist would live a long life, pursuing his dreams.

“We know loss here, but this one hurts. This hurts,” O’Neill said, tearfully.  “It just hurts. Billy was a special kid.  That’s all I need to say … he was special.”

Justice O’Neill says he was devastated to learn that the now 34-year-old was among the victims reported missing in the aftermath of the warehouse fire in Oakland, California, that claimed dozens of lives.  The judge says as an artist, Billy would have been drawn to the community that was created in the so-called ghost ship warehouse.

“We can’t change history; Billy was doing what Billy does.  If he was in a building full of artists, having a good time, I’m sure he was right in the middle of it … I’m positive,” O’Neill said.

**More coverage on the Oakland warehouse fire, here**

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