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Two to face trial over Ghost Ship fire

By | Published on Monday 18 December 2017

Ghost Ship, Oakland

Two men will face trial for the manslaughter of the 36 people who died in a fire at Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse venue, it was ruled last week. Derick Almena and Max Harris had a “substantial” role in managing the multi-purpose venue, said the judge, which he then described as a “death trap”.

As previously reported, fire broke out at the converted warehouse, being used as a shared space for artists to live and work in, during a party last December. Seven musical acts were due to perform that night, members of which were among the dead. Almena later gave an interview saying that the party had been held as a means to keep rent low for the artists who lived in the building.

In June, Almeda and Harris, who had a supervisory role at the warehouse, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. The two men are accused of knowingly operating an unsafe space, which had been illegally converted into living quarters, having failed to put in place basic safety measures.

At a hearing last week, reports Business Insider, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner ruled that the case could proceed to trial, saying: “I find there is sufficient cause to believe both defendants are legally responsible for what happened on that terrible, terrible night, and are legally responsible for the deaths of 36 individuals”.



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