The probable cause document said Almena “allowed and encouraged tenants to use nonconventional building materials that he collected to create their living spaces. These nonconventional building materials included recycled dry wood, such as fence boards, shingles, window frames, wooden sculptures, tapestries, pianos, organs, wooden furniture, RV trailers, rugs, and other ramshackle pieces.”
The two-story structure also lacked critical safety features, authorities have said, including fire alarms, marked exits and sprinklers and when the fire broke out, partygoers were trapped.
It remains one of the deadliest nightclub fires in US history.
“Thirty-five out of the thirty-six people who lost their lives in this tragic fire were attending a concert that night. They had no idea just how dangerous the building really was,” Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement this week. “They went to the Ghost Ship with the expectation of being entertained and returning safely home.”
CNN has reached out to Almena’s attorney for comment.
He will also have to pay restitution in an amount that will be determined by the court, according to the district attorney’s news release. A restitution hearing is scheduled for April 30.
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