Families of 36 partygoers who perished in a huge and inescapable fire in 2016 are outraged after learning that the owner of the illegal warehouse where the tragedy occurred won’t face a serious sentence.
50-year-old Derick Almena plans to plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter and will in exchange avoid a second trial and get a nine-year sentence reduced due to his good behavior and jail time already served.
Almena was the master tenant of the “Ghost Ship”, a former warehouse converted into an event and arts space, packed with flammable staff and deprived of fire detectors.
The 36 victims perished on Dec. 2, 2016, when a ravaging fire erupted at the two-story building without alert and therefore, no chance to escape.
The partygoers gathered for an electronic music and dance party at Almena’s property and got trapped when flames closed a sole ramshackle staircase leading to the second floor.
“My heart dropped, especially when I heard it was going to be a slap on the wrist,” Collen Dolan, a victim’s mom, said.
“I want my daughter back; we want to be with our family members who died. He gets to be with his family.”