Two arrested over deadly Oakland, California, 'Ghost Ship' fire

June 5 (Reuters) - Two people have been arrested in connection with a fire at a warehouse in Oakland, California, known as the "Ghost Ship," that killed 36 people during a dance party last year, prosecutors said.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office scheduled a news conference for later on Monday to discuss the arrests of Derrick Ion Almena, 47, and Max Harris.

Almena rented the warehouse and ran it as an art collective and communal residence. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Harris was a creative director of the art space.

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Deadly Oakland 'Ghost Ship' fire
Firefighters work inside the burned warehouse following the fatal fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Smoke rises above a warehouse as firefighters work to put out remaining hot spots following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03: A woman becomes emotional while speaking on the phone near the scene following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03: Firefighters work at the scene following an overnight fire that claimed the lives of at least nine people at a warehouse in the Fruitvale neighborhood on December 3, 2016 in Oakland, California. The warehouse was hosting an electronic music party. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Imag
Oakland, California, firefighters inspect a warehouse (Rear C) on December 3, 2016, where a fire during a rave party killed 9 people on December 2. Nine people were killed and 25 missing after a huge blaze broke out during a rave party near San Francisco held in a cluttered, maze-like warehouse for artists, known as 'Oakland Ghostship,' fire officials said Saturday. / AFP / Virginie GOUBIER (Photo credit should read VIRGINIE GOUBIER/AFP/Getty Images)
People embrace during a vigil at the Chapel of the Chimes for the victims of a fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A woman places flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Firefighters exit a warehouse where a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A firefighter carries a water hose near a warehouse where a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Firefighters remove debris at a warehouse after a fire broke out during an electronic dance party late Friday evening, resulting in at least nine deaths and many unaccounted for in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Recovery teams examine the charred remains of the two-story converted warehouse that caught fire killing dozens in Oakland, California, U.S., December 4, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Danielle Boudreaux, 40, who knew Derick Ion Almena and his children and went to the Ghost Ship many times, cries a sidewalk memorial near the burned warehouse following the fatal fire in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, California, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People gather at the Lake Merritt Pergola during a vigil for the victims of the fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, California, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 05: People hold up candles and burning wood during a vigil for the victims of a warehouse fire that has claimed the lives of at least thirty-six people on December 5, 2016 in Oakland, California. The fire took place during a musical event late Friday night. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 05: Law enforcement and firefighters are seen at the site of a warehouse fire that has claimed the lives of at least thirty-six people on December 5, 2016 in Oakland, California. The fire took place during a musical event late Friday night. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
A firefighter watches from the roof at the scene of the fatal warehouse fire in Oakland, California, U.S. December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 04: An unidentified bystander looks at the site of the warehouse fire in Oakland, CA Sunday, December 4, 2016. Officials said they are continuing to search the charred rubble from the fatal fire that ripped through a late-night dance party in a converted warehouse earlier in the weekend. (Photo by Jay L. Clendenin /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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The newspaper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the investigation, said both men were taken into custody on suspicion of 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

On Dec. 2, flames raced through what authorities say was an illegal dance party on the second floor of the sprawling two-story building, which was permitted as a warehouse but leased to an artists' collective.

It was the deadliest blaze in the United States since 100 people perished in a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island.

The 10,000-square-foot (930-square-meter) building lacked sprinklers and smoke detectors, and wooden pallets partially formed a makeshift stairway between the first and second floors, officials have said. It had just two exterior doors.

Reuters has reported that in the two years leading up to the fire, city officials entered the building on numerous occasions and had multiple opportunities to see that residents were illegally living there in hazardous conditions.

The Oakland Police Department received dozens of complaints about the warehouse, and went inside at least half a dozen times, according to police reports and accounts from former tenants and visitors.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)

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