One of the big stories of this past weekend is undoubtedly the fire in Oakland at the ‘Ghost Ship,’ which at this time has left 36 dead and many more feared to be deceased. In the wake of the tragedy, news and information about the owner of the property, Derick Ion Almena, has continued to flood out. Beginning with an incredibly insensitive post on social media, Almena has been criticized for being a negligent parent, unfit property owner, and a known drug user.
According to caregivers, Almena and his wife, Micah Allison, frequently gallivant to destinations leaving their three children in the care of others for days at a time. Aside from being an allegedly negligent parent, others have come forward with information about the Ghost Ship that paint an ugly picture of the property.
New York Post says that many called the building a “death trap.” The Sacramento Bee notes that it was a “disaster waiting to happen,” alleging that the warehouse was crammed with old furniture, rugs, makeshift bedrooms, art studios, instruments, old doors and half-finished sculptures, and a shoddily hand-built staircase made up of flammable wooden pallets.
Between the decrepit conditions of the Ghost Ship, the negligence of the promoter who pushed the event at the Ghost Ship, the owner of the property who didn’t care to upkeep it, despite sometimes living there, and lack of aggressive code enforcement from the city itself, it’s a surprise that the building stood up this long.
The warehouse, which was also used as a living space for dozens of people, had repeatedly been reported for noise and disturbances for years, writes the Sacramento Bee. Police even responded to reports of an illegal rave at the premises in 2015. And whenever authorities came knocking, residents were “told to hide all evidence of living there.”
The search for victims and survivors continues this week.