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Man gets 12-years for deaths of three dozen people in 2016 Ghost Ship fire

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Man gets 12-years for deaths of three dozen people in 2016 Ghost Ship fire
Derick Almena will serve the remainder of his 12-year sentence at home with GPS monitoring. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- A California man who pleaded guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced Monday that Derick Almena received a split sentence of nine years in prison and three years of post-release supervision. He received credit for time already served and will serve the rest of his sentence at home with GPS monitoring.

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"Thirty-five out of the 36 people who lost their lives in this tragic fire were attending a concert that night. They had no idea just how dangerous the building really was," O'Malley said. "They went to the Ghost Ship with the expectation of being entertained and returning safely home."

Almena rented the Ghost Ship warehouse, which he then sublet to artists.

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Prosecutors accused co-defendant Max Harris of helping Almena convert the warehouse into living spaces and holding large parties. They said Almena negligently failed to install smoke alarms and other safety devices inside the warehouse, and declined to obtain inspections.

Harris was acquitted on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The Dec. 2, 2016, fire broke out during a concert on the second floor of the Oakland warehouse. Most of the victims were unable to evacuate the building via a makeshift staircase, which prosecutors called an "inadequate means of escape."

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Almena pleaded guilty to the charges in January after a judge declared a mistrial in September 2019 because a jury was unable to agree on a verdict.

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