VIDEO: Witness at court hearing recalls thinking he was going to die during Ghost Ship fire


OAKLAND (KRON) — Prosecutors are calling witnesses and presenting evidence Wednesday during the preliminary hearing of the two men charged in Oakland’s deadly Ghost Ship fire.

Derick Almena and Max Harris were charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count for each person who was killed in the Dec. 2, 2016, fire.

Musician Aaron Marin, who was at the Ghost Ship the night of the fire, described in court that entering the warehouse was like going into “Disneyland.”

He testified that the space was like a museum filled with musical instruments, trailers and other items.

Marin said that during the fire, the Ghost Ship was full of smoke and people were coming back up a flight of stairs unable to get out.

That’s when Marin said he sat there and accepted that his life was over. He was able to escape the warehouse by jumping out of a window.

Marin also testified that there was a bubble-like item put up to show videos during the dance party. The item was blocking the staircase, preventing people from getting down, he said.

However, after the lunch break, Marin went back on the stand and changed course, saying instead the bubble contraption was further away from the stairs then he initially stated.

KRON4’s Terisa Estacio, who was at the court during the hearing, says many family members of those who were killed in the fire showed up. Some tearing up as the prosecutor talked about the night of the fire.

In the afternoon, another witness was called to the stand, Jose Avalos.

Avalos lived in the building and was very emotional on the stand as he talked about trying to get out the night of the fire.

He testified that Almena told him to pay Harris rent for his loft space at the warehouse.

A judge will decide whether the two men should stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Almena rented the warehouse in 2013 and lived there with his family. Harris also lived in the building and helped Almena book musical acts and sublet the space to artists.

Almena and Harris were each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Dec. 2, 2016, fire.Check back for updates



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