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The Latest: Defendants in deadly fire ‘criminally negligent’

Posted: 1:54 PM, Jul 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-29 17:03:51-04

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the trial against two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire (all times local):

1 p.m.

Closing arguments have started in the trial against two men charged with involuntary manslaughter after a warehouse fire in the San Francisco Bay Area killed 36 people.

Alameda County prosecutors told jurors on Monday that Derick Almena and Max Harris disregarded the safety of others when they illegally converted the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse into a residential space for artists and threw unpermitted parties there.

The men were arrested after a fire broke out December 2016 during an electronic music show at the warehouse. Prosecutors said victims had very little notice or time to escape because the warehouse wasn’t properly outfitted with smoke alarms or a sprinkler system.

Deputy District Attorney Autrey James said to find the men guilty of involuntary manslaughter, jurors must agree their actions were criminally negligent.

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The trial against two men arrested after a deadly warehouse fire in the San Francisco Bay Area is wrapping up.

Closing arguments are set to begin Monday in the trial against Derick Almena and Max Harris.

They’re charged with involuntary manslaughter after the December 2016 fire at the so-called Ghost Ship warehouse killed 36 people.

Prosecutors said the men illegally converted the industrial building into an artist live-work space and stuffed it with highly combustible materials that trapped those trying to escape the blaze.

The cause of the fire has never been determined.

During trial, the defense raised the possibility it was caused by arsonists and shifted the blame to the warehouse’s landlord and city officials.

The case could be in the hands of a jury by early August.