Derick Almena, the man charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of three dozen people in a 2016 fire that burned through a converted Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship, was released from jail Monday over coronavirus concerns.
Almena, who's been behind bars since 2017, was released after a court hearing by phone, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said. He will be under electronic monitoring while he awaits his retrial.
Prosecutors allege Almena, who was the master tenant on the Ghost Ship's lease, was criminally negligent when he turned the industrial building into a residence for artists and held events without proper permits.
The building was packed with furniture, extension cords and other flammable material but had only two exits and no smoke detectors, fire alarms or sprinklers, prosecutors say.