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Man pleads guilty to deaths of 36 people in warehouse fire

Oakland Warehouse fire
Posted at 10:06 AM, Jan 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-23 13:06:36-05

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The master tenant of a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a 2016 fire has pleaded guilty to the deaths.

The plea Friday allows Derick Almena to avoid a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury.

He received a 12-year sentence, but he likely won't return to jail because of the nearly three years he already spent behind bars and credit for good behavior.

Almena is accused of being criminally negligent when he illegally converted an industrial Oakland warehouse into a residence and event space for artists.

They say he stuffed the building with flammable materials, and it had no smoke detectors or sprinklers.