The manager of the Oakland warehouse that burned down last weekend is drawing heat for a Facebook post mourning the loss of his possessions, even as 36 people have been confirmed dead, CNET is reporting.
Derick Ion, also known as Derick Ion Alemany, managed the Ghost Ship, the Oakland warehouse that served as a sort of artists’ commune and ersatz home to an unknown number of residents. Late Friday night, a fire tore through the building, killing at least 36 people (as of this writing), leaving dozens more injured, and an unknown number of people still unaccounted for.
— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2016
However, in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, it seems that Alemany is as concerned about the loss of his property as he is about the loss of his life.
“Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah [his wife] were at a hotel safe and sound… it’s as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope…. to be standing now in poverty of self worth.”
That sentiment did not sit well with readers of his post, some of whom undoubtedly lost loved ones in the fire. Before the post was deleted, it had gained some 2,000 comments, almost uniformly critical, according to KTVU (Oakland). Some users called for a lawsuit.
Margot Keller: I hope you get the living s**t sued out of you.
Others wished death or an eternity in Hell on the Ghost Ship owner.
“You’re a dead man.”
“There’s a special place in Hell for people like you!”
— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) December 5, 2016
According to court records, Derick Ion/Almena is 46 years old. He is currently on probation for a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property. However, the details of that crime remain unclear.
Meanwhile, authorities continue the grim task of searching through the charred wreckage of the Oakland warehouse, searching for bodies and identifying them. As of this writing, only a small number of the estimated 33 bodies have been recovered so far; some of the identified victims were teenagers.
According to San Francisco Gate, the site of the Ghost Ship had been a source of complaints to Oakland officials for years. Nearby residents called the property a “blight,” complaining of garbage outside the building and a constant slew of transients coming and going. Officially, the property was not zoned for residential use; however, several dozen people are believed to have lived there.
Further, inside the building were several little alcoves cluttered with this and that, according to Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann.
“It was just a labyrinth of little areas.”
The warehouse was also known to be filled with structures that didn’t adhere to building codes. Users accessed the top floor of the building through a makeshift staircase built out of wood pallets. Neighbor Danielle Bourdreaux, whose children attended school with Derick Ion’s children, sad the warehouse was filled with pieces of wood with rusty nails sticking out. The building lacked hot water, climate control, or even a kitchen.
The police and Fire Department were there on more than one occasion. Multiple people warned Derick that it was a death trap. He would laugh it off. This tragedy could have been avoided if it were not for his arrogance.”
As of this writing, Derick Ion is not facing any criminal charges for the Ghost Ship fire. However, the investigation continues and criminal or civil charges may be forthcoming.
[Featured Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images]