OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The owners of the Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland recently filed bankruptcy to settle a lawsuit with victim’s families and survivors of the warehouse fire that killed 36 people and displaced others nearly five years ago.
This filing of bankruptcy will help move along the final legal proceedings attached to this tragedy and it will cover more than half of the settlement for these families.
An attorney representing the victim’s families says her clients are disappointed that the owners, the Ng family, weren’t criminally charged but at least they’re being held accountable.
December 2, 2016 — A day many families won’t forget after their loved ones died in a fire that tore through the Ghost Ship Warehouse in Oakland.
The inferno killed 36 people and left many other people living there at the time homeless.
Now, nearly five years later, an end is in sight for these families.
The Ng family, who owns the warehouse, which continues to sit vacantly, recently filed bankruptcy to pay an estimated $11.8 million to survivors and families of the three dozen victims.
“The owners of the building, the Ng’s went into voluntary bankruptcy. That’s so that we will have no only their insurance policy but we will also sell the properties that they have in Oakland and those proceeds will go to the families,” Attorney Mary Alexander said.
Attorney Mary Alexander represents 13 of the families and a dozen others who once lived at the warehouse.
She says they already settled with the city of Oakland and PG&E, party promoters, and the master tenant Derick Almena.
In March, Almena pled guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter but will serve 12 years on home arrest and probation.
Alexander says the families are disappointed that the ng family wasn’t also charged criminally.
“The families really wanted to see the Ng’s charged criminally and be held responsible for letting this building be such a fire trap, for having people living there and for unpermitted events and so this civil suit though the amount of money is not enough to compensate them fully, but at least it’s some sense of justice,” Alexander said.
Under the Ng’s bankruptcy plan, they’ll pay nearly $6-million in insurance money and the rest would come from the sale of their properties in Oakland, including the Ghost Ship Warehouse.
“It has been almost five years and it is still very raw and still very upsetting to the families. We’re hoping this will give them some sense of justice, this compensation,” Alexander said.
Alexander says together, the bankruptcy and sale of the Ng’s property could take as long as a year.