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Man pleads guilty to 36 counts of manslaughter linked to deadly 2016 Oakland warehouse fire

Oakland Warehouse fire
Posted at 2:19 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 14:19:00-05

OAKLAND, Calif. — The master tenant of a San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a 2016 fire has pleaded guilty to the deaths.

Derick Almena, 50, pleaded guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a 12-year sentence. The plea allows Almena to avoid a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury.

Almena likely won’t return to jail. He was already free on bail and has already served three years. The judge will likely also take into account his good behavior as an inmate.

Almena was accused of being criminally negligent when he illegally converted an industrial Oakland warehouse into a residence and event space for artists.

Prosecutors say he stuffed the building with flammable materials, and it had no smoke detectors or sprinklers.