Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse founder disregarded fire hazard warnings, ex-employees say

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Part of the investigation into a deadly fire at the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse that killed at least 24 people in Oakland concerns the building not being up to code, and there is one person in particular who authorities would like to speak to about that.

Fire officials who were briefed on the ongoing investigation tell ABC News the blaze does not look like a case of arson, but criminal charges are still a possibility.

A key person in this case is Derick Ion, who founded the Ghost Ship Artist Collective and ran it at the warehouse. The Ghost Ship served as a work and live space for creatives in the area. People who used to work for Ion tell sister station KGO-TV's investigative team police and fire officials warned him about the fire hazard at the building, but he reportedly laughed off those warnings.

The I-Team reached out to Ion for comment but did not receive a response as of Saturday evening.

A post on Ion's Facebook page was getting a lot of attention.

The post read: "Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound. It's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope...to be standing now in poverty of self worth."

Micah is Ion's wife.

Several people blasted Ion for focusing on his own situation instead of the terrible loss of life. Ion held frequent parties at the warehouse. Fliers promoting them were still on his website, as is a video from one party in June.

The Oakland Planning and Building Department said Saturday that Ion should have requested a special permit for Friday night's rave, but he did not. It clearly would not have been approved due to having so many people crowded into a space so cluttered with what would become fuel for the inferno.
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