Following the terrible tragedy that took place at the Oakland DIY art space Ghost Ship, two arrests have been made on charges of 36 counts of manslaughter.
“Master tenant” Derick Almena and Ghost Ship creative director Max Harris were arrested on Monday in connection to the Ghost Ship fire which occurred on December 2, 2016, that left 36 people dead, according to East Bay Times.
As the lease holder for the building, Almena lived inside Ghost Ship and, according to court documents, he encouraged other people living their to us “non-conventional building materials,” like wooden sculptures and old furniture to create their living spaces.
Court documents written by Alameda County DA investigator Cristina Harbison outline why Almena was arrested: “Almena substantially increased the risk to those living, working or visiting the building by storing enormous amounts of flammable material inside the warehouse. Residents reported that if they put anything in their individual living spaces that did not conform to Almena’s idea as to how the warehouse should look, he would order it to be removed.”
Harris, who according to court documents planned the party that took place on December 2, made key mistakes when preparing for the event which added to the danger inside the building. He blocked a key exit, which was one of only two at Ghost Ship, and “effectively reduced the upstairs guests to a single point of escape”.
Of the 36 people that died in the Ghost Ship fire, all but one were attending the 100% Silk party and were upstairs when the fire occurred. They were unable to make their way down a staircase built of wooden pallets.
Almena is being held with bail set at $1 million.