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.

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)