OAKLAND, Calif. (AP/NBC) – 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.