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Prosecutors consider murder, manslaughter charges in deadly Oakland warehouse fire

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OAKLAND, Calif. – Prosecutors in California are considering possible murder charges in the wake of Oakland’s deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire.

The fire claimed the lives of 36 people.

Derick Alemena, the manager of the warehouse, leased the building to artists that didn’t have space elsewhere. Many created studios there and lived in the same part of the building.

However, officials say the warehouse was never zoned for residential living.

Alemena has been criticized for checking into a hotel with his partner and their kids the night of the fire. He told TODAY that they moved to a hotel that night because he knew a big party was being planned.

“Did I know there was going to be a fire? Did I remove my children from the space and get a hotel because I wanted to avoid this, because I wanted to cast blame on other people?” he said. “No, because I wanted to get a good night sleep with my children. I wanted to let the young people do what they wanted to do.”

Now, prosecutors in the county are considering whether or not to file criminal charges related to the fire.

“The question is whether or not the range of charges could be murder all the way to involuntary manslaughter. And until we know what the evidence shows us, there may be other charges if the evidence presents that,” said Nancy O’Malley, with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.