Wife of Ghost Ship manager apologizes to Oakland officials and activists following deadly fire
The wife of an Oakland warehouse manager has offered an apology following a fire that killed 36 people on the property in December.
“More than anything, I want to say how sorry I am for what happened on Dec. 2,” Micah Allison told officials at a special Oakland City Council meeting Monday night. “And I wish more had been done before, because we carry a heavy weight on our shoulders right now.”
Allison’s husband, Derick Ion Almena, came under intense scrutiny following the fire that destroyed the repurposed warehouse known as the Ghost Ship. Some who lived in the artists collective have described it as a firetrap filled with debris and that electricity was provided through makeshift wiring.
On Monday night, Allison said the media’s portrayal of her family “hasn’t been pretty,” and that because of that, people don’t want her family moving into their neighborhood.
A firefighter walks through the burned-out Oakland warehouse on Saturday.(David Butow / For The Times)
Firefighters walk through a debris-strewn warehouse where a fire killed at least nine people in Oakland.(David Butow / For The Times)
Titus Cromwell, 4, places a flower from his family’s garden near the scene of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Daryl Norman, 63, of Oakland stops by the scene of the fire on his way to church in Oakland. “I had to come see for myself,” he said of the 36 victims. “God bless them.”(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
People stand at the perimeter holding flowers while watching crews remove material from what remains of the “Ghostship” warehouse fire, that burned and killed at least 36 people in the Oakland neighborhood of Fruitvale.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
An art installation near the scene of the Ghost Ship fire.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
People pay their respects Dec. 11 near the scene of the warehouse fire.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Mourners observe a moment of silence for the lives lost in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire at the Oakland Museum of California on Friday evening.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
ATF agents map the scene of the fire investigation Friday at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland. (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times)(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
Rain falls on the memorial for victims of the Oakland warehouse fire.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles TImes)
Jacob Ramirez, 4, left, looks on while his grandmother Eva Ramirez, 52, consoles Hillary Morse, 22, right, of Oakland near the site of the warehouse fire in Oakland.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Flowers, candles and notes, memorializing those killed and injured in the “Ghostship” warehouse fire that burned and killed at least 36 people in the Oakland neighborhood of Fruitvale.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
A man who identified himself as Ben P. reads cards on Sunday at a memorial near the site of the blaze.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Kristen Grzeca, a music teacher at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, hugs Monina Sen Cervone, director of world music and dance at the school, on Sunday at a makeshift memorial for victims of the warehouse fire. A 17-year-old victim was one of Grzeca’s students.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
After attending church, Teionna Cunningham of Oakland leaves flowers near the site of the fire.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A Seventh Day Adventist group prays on Sunday near the scene of the fire on 31st Avenue in Oakland.(David Butow / For The Times)
Flowers are left near an Oakland warehouse where a fire broke out during a concert, killing 36 people.(David Butow / For The Times)
Dino Graniello, left, and Jessie Xenakis light candles near the scene of a warehouse fire in Oakland that killed at least two dozen partygoers.(David Butow / For The Times)
Allison said that a former landlord had contacted them offering them a place to stay. However, neighbors caught wind of the offer, she said. “In a couple hours, or over a 24-hour period, they contacted the landlord and said that if they let us move back into the house that they would cause a lot of trouble for him.”
Allison’s comments came as council members discussed proposals to ensure better and safer housing in the city, as well as a move to impose a moratorium on evictions.
“I want to thank everyone for everything they are doing,” she told officials and activists.
Allison’s comments came hours after her husband’s legal team issued a 10-page report, asserting that the fire didn’t begin inside the warehouse.
Instead, lawyers claimed the fire started in a neighboring structure.
The attorneys’ report said there was no direct utility connection from the power company into the part of the Ghost Ship believed to have caught fire first. The report included photos that appear to show flames visible in an adjacent building.
A final report on the cause of the fire has not yet been completed, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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