Oakland will pay $ 32.7 million to settle lawsuits over the fire of an illegally converted warehouse into the Ghost Ship Club, which killed 36 people.
The city council approved a deal to settle claims filed by the families of 32 victims. This amount also includes over $ 9 million for Sam Maxwell, who survived the fire. He “will live with severe injuries throughout his life and high medical costs,” the city said in a statement.
“It was a terrible tragedy that deeply affected every corner of our community,” the city prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The settlement is one of the largest in the history of the city.
The city does not recognize any liability in the agreement, but decided to go for the deal due to high legal costs, it said in a statement.
On December 2, 2016, a fire engulfed the warehouse converted into a club during an electronic music concert. The industrial building was illegally converted into an artist residence and party venue The building was filled with furniture, extension cords and other flammable materials, but it only had two exits and had no smoke detectors, fire alarms, or sprinklers.
Prosecutors allege that Derik Almena, the main tenant at the warehouse, was criminally negligent in leasing the building in such a state. They charged him with 36 cases of manslaughter, but the case was postponed until this fall.
The fire killed many young people who were trapped on an illegally constructed second floor. The cause of the fire has not been identified, although some lawsuits say the building had serious electricity problems.