Families of Oakland Warehouse Fire Victims Sue

May 17, 2017

Attorneys representing the families of people who died in an Oakland, Calif. warehouse fire that broke out during an unlicensed concert plan to file a lawsuit against the building’s owner and manager.

Lawyer Mary Alexander says she is filing the so-called master complaint in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland. Several families have filed individual lawsuits alleging unsafe conditions existed at the warehouse known as the Ghost Ship existed long before the Dec. 2 fire killed 36 partygoers. Those lawsuits will be litigated at the same time before a single judge, Alexander said.

District Attorney Nancy O’Malley says she is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against the building’s owner, Chor Nar Siu Ng, and the building’s leaseholder, Derick Almena. Ng and Almena didn’t return calls for comment.

Firefighters work inside the burned warehouse following the fatal fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Almena organized the Dec. 2 concert and charged an entrance fee. He and his family also lived in the warehouse and sublet living to space to several self-described artists. The warehouse was not licensed for entertainment or residency.

The lawsuits filed so far say the warehouse was a cluttered firetrap and that the owner and leaseholder negligently ignored safety hazards.

Oakland city records show neighbors, residents and visitors complaining to city officials of Ghost Ship warehouse about safety problems, loud parties and other issues with the dilapidated building converted illegally into a living area.

Firefighters and other city officials also were called to the property and adjacent buildings. No citations were ever issued.

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Latest Comments

  • May 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    Agent says:
    I know of a case where a guy was growing Marijuana in his home using powerful lights which shorted out the wiring and burned the home down. The lienholder was paid their inte... read more
  • May 18, 2017 at 11:23 am
    Ken says:
    I can see action being taken against the owner and the manager but I read elsewhere they are also suing PG&E. Why PG&E? Next we'll have people who by-pass power meters... read more
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