Oakland Ghost Ship Fire: Two Arrested for Involuntary Manslaughter in Connection With Blaze That Killed 36

Two people were arrested on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the deadly California warehouse fire that killed three dozen people more than six months ago, including the manager of the property, officials said Monday.

Derick Almena was arrested Monday morning, along with warehouse tenant, Max Harris, in connection with the blaze, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

Both Almena and Harris each face 36 counts of felony involuntary manslaughter, one for each of the victims of the fire, and up to 39 years in prison, officials said.

Almena was the leaseholder and founder of the hive-like artists’ collective at the warehouse, known as the “Ghost Ship,” where revelers had gathered on the night of Dec. 2 for party when the warehouse went up in flames.

A probable cause document from the district attorney’s office said Almena let Harris live in the warehouse starting in 2014 and made him its “creative director” — allowing him to collect rent, mediate any disputes between tenants, and act as an intermediary between Almena and the owners of the warehouse.

“Defendants Almena and Harris knowingly created a fire trap with inadequate means of escape, they then filled that area with human beings and are now facing the consequences of their actions,” O’Malley said.




A warehouse fire burns late on Dec. 2 in Oakland, California.