OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on prosecutors filing charges in Oakland warehouse fire (all times local):
The owner of an Oakland warehouse that officials say was illegally turned into a living and party space where 36 people died in a December fire was not charged as prosecutors ended their investigation.
Alameda County prosecutors instead charged a man who rented the warehouse and his assistant with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, saying they turned the warehouse into a “firetrap.”
District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declined to say if more charges were coming.
The first criminal charges have been filed after 36 people died in a fire six months ago at an Oakland warehouse and artists collective.
Forty-seven-year-old Derick Almena, who founded the Ghost Ship warehouse and his 27-year-old right-hand man Max Harris were each arrested and charged Monday with three dozen counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Almena had turned the warehouse into a “deathtrap.”
Court documents say his reckless actions created “a high risk of death” at the Ghost Ship.
The two men were each being held on bail of nearly $1.1 million.
Almena’s three lawyers called their client a “scapegoat” and the charges a miscarriage of justice.
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