Community remembers Ghost Ship Fire victims on 3rd anniversary

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) – Alberto Vega stood in front of the Ghost Ship warehouse Monday.

He remembered his brother Alex, and the 35 other people who lost their lives during an electronic music party here three years ago, when a fire tore through the building.

Carmen Brito — also stood by with friends.

She lived inside the warehouse, and testified earlier this year in the trial of the two men charged in connection with the fire — the master tenant Derick Almena and the creative director Max Harris.

The attorney for the victim’s family members said in a statement today that the third anniversary is very difficult for the families.

They are thinking about that night, hearing the news, waiting for word on their loved one and then hearing the worst.

“Feels like yesterday,” City councilor Noel Gallo said. “Every time I come by, I live two blocks away, I drive by. Certainly that memory will stay with you forever.”

“The fire was blazing,” Alfred Garcia said. “Pretty large fire, a lot of people were already here out in the street and there was a lot of people who had apparently been in the Ghost Ship at that point. It was quite an evening.”

Garcia has a clear shot of the Ghost Ship warehouse from his store, and came to check on his business the night of the fire.

He wants to see the building torn down eventually, and a memorial to be made for the victims somewhere nearby.

“A lot of people would like to move on and I think it’s that time,” he said. “It’s been three years and I don’t know the right thing to do there but I’m sure people in the know will put something good there. Something good will come from it.”

Oakland city councilor Noel Gallo said he has seen proposals to turn the building into housing or an art school.

But he said nothing can be done to the building until after the lawsuits against the owner and the city are settled.

“Is Oakland responsible? I think we are all responsible,” Gallo said.

Max Harris was acquitted, but it was a mistrial for Derick Almena.

He’ll return to court for a new trial in March.

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