Ghost Ship Trial: Firefighter’s helmet cam shows first moments of fire

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — It was another emotional day inside the courtroom at the Ghost Ship warehouse fire trial in Oakland.

On Wednesday, prosecutors showed a video presentation that brought tears to the eyes of the victim’s families.

An Oakland firefighter’s helmet camera was rolling when he arrived on the scene of a blazing inferno at the Ghost Ship warehouse back on Dec. 2, 2016.

The prosecution played 15-minutes of that video in the courtroom.

The defendants, Derick Almena and Max Harris, face 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter for the people who died during a music event.

While the video played, the only sound in the courtroom was that of the victims family members crying.

“Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the victims families in the courtroom. This has to be a very difficult witness for them,” said Curtis Briggs, attorney for Harris.

Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Heather Mozdean was on the witness stand for the prosecution. Mozdean testified that she was a fire captain back in 2016 when the first call came in.

She told the court fire crews were out the door within 30 seconds.

She said when firefighters from Station 13, which is a block away from the Ghost Ship, arrived on the scene, that there was enough smoke in volume and velocity that she knew it was a significant fire.

However the defense says that 15 minute video showed the victims’ families a different picture.

“Essentially the video shows the firefighters going two to three feet within the front door of the warehouse, not even pushing themselves close enough to the fire to see any flames,” Briggs said. “Not preceding to the second floor, not talking to any bystanders to see where any victims were located and that’s got to be very difficult for these families.”

In fact, the victims’ families were viewing the fire department helmet camera video for the first time.

The video was dark with flashes of light with inaudible sound that was transcribed and given to the jury

The judge told the jury to expect to have the case in their hands for deliberation by mid to late July, barring unforseen breaks in the trial along the way.

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