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Two charged over deadly fire at Ghost Ship party

By | Published on Wednesday 7 June 2017

Ghost Ship, Oakland

Two people have been charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the fire that occurred at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, California last December, which took place during a party headlined by electronic group Golden Donna.

A total of 36 people died in the blaze, including artists Cherushii, Joey Casio, Nackt, and Cash Askew from dream-pop band Them Are Us Too.

According to the New York Times, the two men who have been charged – Derick Almena, who leased the warehouse, and Max Harris, who had a supervisory role at the building – are accused of failing to put in place basic safety measures at the informal arts complex they ran.

District Attorney of Alameda County, Nancy E O’Malley, who has brought the charges against the two men, told reporters that Almena and Harris had “knowingly created a fire trap with inadequate means of escape [and] then filled that area with human beings and are now facing the consequences of their actions”.

The DA continued: “The paying guests at the event were faced with a nearly impossible labyrinth of the defendants’ making. They allowed individuals to live in the warehouse and deceived the police, the fire department and the owner of the building to that fact. They allowed large groups to assemble in the warehouse for unpermitted and unsafe musical events in that space”.

A spokesman for the DA’s office, Teresa Drenick, added that the actual cause of the fire had not been identified and probably never would “because of the nature of the fire and its consumption of nearly all of the evidence”. The investigation into the blaze was now complete, she added, and no additional people would be charged.