An Oakland fire captain said on Tuesday that Ghost Ship warehouse master tenant Derick Almena told him in September 2014 that no one was living at the structure in Oakland's Fruitvale district where 36 people perished in a fire in 2016.
Testifying in the trial of Almena, 49, and Ghost Ship creative director Max Harris, 29, who face 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Dec. 2, 2016 blaze, Oakland Fire Capt. George Freelen said he and three colleagues visited the building at 1309 31st Ave. in late September 2014, a few days after there'd been a couch fire outside the warehouse.
Freelen, who heads a fire station that's only about a block away from the warehouse, said the visit wasn't a formal inspection but he wanted to visit the warehouse because "I wanted to see what was inside" and Almena gave him permission to enter the building.
Freelen said the building had "a lot of materials," such as pianos, organs, a recreational vehicle, a trailer and "a lot of different wood products."