The first in what could be a long series of lawsuits prompted by the Ghost Ship warehouse fire were filed Friday on behalf of the families of two victims of the Dec. 2 blaze, which killed 36 people.
The lawsuits name eight individuals, including building owner Chor Nar Siu Ng, master tenant Derick Ion Almena and his partner Micah Allison, party promoter John Hrabko, musician Joel Shanahan and the proprietors of an adjacent auto body shop that are said to have supplied electricity and a restroom when events were held at the Ghost Ship.
The warehouse, on 31st Avenue in Oakland's Fruitvale District, was home to as many as 25 people and periodically hosted music events despite having no city permits for those uses. Those familiar with the Ghost Ship have described the interior as a maze of highly flammable art and decorations. The main path from the ground floor to the second-floor performance space in use the night of the fire was a rickety stairway built partly from wooden pallets. The building was not equipped with sprinklers or fire alarms.
"It was a trap for people who were there," said attorney Mary Alexander, who is representing the families.
The defendants failed to provide a safe space or failed to manage the property itself, the lawsuits say.