Man charged in deadly Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire appears in court

FILE- This Dec. 3, 2016 file image from video provided by KGO-TV shows the Ghost Ship Warehouse after a fire swept through the Oakland, Calif., building. The man blamed for the nation's deadliest structure fire in more than 14 years will be arraigned in Northern California on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Derick Almena is scheduled to enter a plea Thursday, June 8, 2017. (KGO-TV via AP, File)


OAKLAND — A man charged in a December fire that killed 36 concertgoers at an illegally converted Oakland warehouse appeared briefly in court for the first time.

Max Harris didn't enter a plea Monday on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter. He was ordered back to court Thursday, when warehouse operator Derick Almena is scheduled to be arraigned on the same charges.

The East Bay Times reported ( that Harris' public defender declined to comment outside court.

Authorities say the pair turned the Ghost Ship warehouse into housing and party space that lacked fire safety systems and was packed with flammable material.

Almena's lawyers say others are to blame, including an electrical utility and the fire department.

They're jailed on bail of a bit more than $1 million each.


Information from: East Bay Times,