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2 men charged in connection with deadly Oakland warehouse fire

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Two men have been arrested and charged in connection with the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people in northern California, CBS San Francisco reports

During a news conference Monday, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter have been filed against master tenant Derick Almena and warehouse tenant Max Harris.

O'Malley said a team of two attorneys, three district attorney investigators and others were involved in the case.

"Defendants Almena and Harris knowingly constructed a firetrap… and filled that space with human beings and are now facing the consequences of those actions," O'Malley said.

This March 12, 2015 file booking photo provided by the Glendale, Calif., Police Department shows Derick Ion Almena.   Glendale Police Department / AP

Among the evidence against Almena and Harris, O'Malley said, was that they blocked one of the two exits from the building the night of the fatal fire.

She said the families of the victims have been told that charges have been filed in the case.

Investigators seek cause of Oakland fire 01:21

The FBI assisted in taking Almena into custody Monday morning in Lake County. Harris was arrested in Los Angeles.

Authorities say Almena was in charge of the Ghost Warehouse artist community and was responsible for the concert that was being staged on Dec. 2, 2016, when the fire erupted in the artist workplace/living facility.   

He leased the warehouse and illegally sublet space for artists to live and work. He also held for-profit concerts at the warehouse, which was not licensed for entertainment.   

Harris lived at the Ghost Ship and is accused of helping plan the December concert. He has described himself as Almena's second-in-command and said he would collect rent when Almena was away. 

Thirty-six people died in the fire when they became trapped in the old warehouse building and could not escape the smoke and flames. 

The incident remains under investigation. 

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