Man charged with fatal Oakland warehouse fire seeks bail

AP News
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Posted: Jul 28, 2017 3:57 AM
Man charged with fatal Oakland warehouse fire seeks bail

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — One of two men charged with involuntary manslaughter for an Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people will seek his release Friday from jail on bail.

Max Harris, 27, will ask a judge for a significant reduction of his $1.08 million bail, which he has been held on since his June arrest on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Harris' lawyer, Curtis Briggs, said his client not a flight risk or a danger to the public and is eligible to be released on his promise to appear at all hearings without having to post any money.

Harris and Derick Almena, 47, are each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Dec. 2 fire. Neither man has entered a plea.

Almena's lawyer Tony Serra also said he will ask for a bail reduction later.

Almena rented the warehouse and prosecutors say Harris helped him sublet living space in the building.

Alameda County district attorney Nancy O'Malley said the pair turned the warehouse into a "death trap" by illegally converting the building into an entertainment venue and housing for artists.

O'Malley argued that once the men rented living space to tenants, they were responsible for the installation of sprinklers and to ensure the building was safe.

Instead, O'Malley said the men cluttered the warehouse with flammable materials.