36 Killed in Oakland's "Ghost Ship" Fire

During a fire that broke out on December 2, 2016, in the midst of a late night electronic dance party, 36 people were killed in a warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship”. Many young artists lived and worked there, but the building was notoriously known for not being up to code and was undergoing an investigation launched by the city buildings department. Unfortunately, with the high price of real estate in the area, many end up living in spaces that were never built with the intention of people inhabiting it, especially at such a high capacity.

Derick Ion Almena managed the warehouse live-work space, having signed the lease over three years ago. Almena claimed that he assumed the building met city standards back then. However, numerous complaints regarding its unsafe conditions were made. The warehouse had no running water, plumbing, or even a sprinkler system, despite the bounty of flammable materials in this tight living space. Almena and his family were reportedly not present during the night of the fatal blaze. They stayed in a hotel due to the loud music from the rave.

An investigation is now open to uncover any possible criminal activity that may have caused the fire, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but they believe in began in the back of the building. Additionally, while 36 bodies have been recovered, many of them so badly burned that dental records will be necessary for identification, authorities say the death toll may still rise as they comb through the scene. So far, only 11 individuals have been identified.

Habbas & Associates is a personal injury law firm with over 175 years of collective experience and decades of success. When your life is struck by tragedy, it is important to have someone skilled and determined to fight for you when you have suffered at the hands of someone else’s carelessness, mistakes, or negligence. We offer free, no risk consultations.

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