Ghost Ship warehouse fire: 2 arrested in blaze that killed 36 in Oakland

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Friday, September 14, 2018
2 charged with involuntary manslaughter for deadly Ghost Ship fire
Derick Almena and Max Harris have been arrested on involuntary manslaughter charges connected to the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse founder Derick Almena and his associate Max Harris have been arrested on involuntary manslaughter charges connected to the deadly fire in Oakland, the Alameda County DA said on Monday.

DA Nancy O'Malley says they could get up to 39 years in prison for these charges.

The criminal complaint filed alleges the Almena created a "dangerous condition" and "firetrap" that cost 36 people their lives.

PHOTOS: A look inside the Oakland Ghost Ship collective warehouse

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This photo of the Ghost Ship art collective warehouse in Oakland, Calif. was posted on its website.
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Ghost Ship founder Derick Almena was arrested in Lake County this morning, while Max Harris was arrested in Los Angeles County.

Thirty-six people died in the fire in December, making it the nation's deadliest structure fire in more than a decade.

Nearly all of the people who died in the blaze at the warehouse at 1315 31st Ave. on Dec. 2 were attending a dance party on its second floor.

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A recent lawsuit that was filed on behalf of the families of half of the 36 victims alleged that the warehouse was "a death trap that contained a maze of makeshift rooms, alcoves and partitions" and lacked a safe means of getting out.

A source tells ABC7 News that two arrests have been made in connection with last year's deadly Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland.

Several weeks after the fire, Almena's attorney said he didn't engage in any criminal misconduct and alleged that governmental agencies were responsible for the blaze for not cracking down on code violations at the warehouse.

Bay City News contributed to this report.