On Tuesday, the warehouse manager that smoldered in a devastating fire in Oakland, California, apologized in an interview. Criminal charges are said to possibly be filed against him.
The country went abuzz when the warehouse was burned down during a weekend party, taking at least 36 lives. The warehouse was known as a residential community for artists. Derick Almena, the warehouse manager, went out to the public and defended his role in an emotional interview.
During the interview with Today, Almena apologized and took the opportunity to explain his side. "I'm only here to say one thing: I'm incredibly sorry and that everything that I did was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together," he said.
Derick Almena, 47, remained speechless when he was asked if he should be held liable for the tragedy. Meanwhile, NPR indicated that the officials are looking into the possibility of filing murder and criminal charges against Almena.
Almena reiterated that the building was on the due city standards when he signed a lease. The warehouse was opened as a shelter to cater artists and people with no place to stay. The manager, however, debunked the controversies about him making profits "at the expense of safety." When asked about how he manages the building, Almena became more agitated while saying sorry.
During the night of the fire, Almena and his family stayed in a hotel which fired up criticisms. He admitted that he just wanted to avoid the scheduled weekend party. Almena also cleared out that it wasn't his intention but a quiet night with his kids.
Nineteen of the 36 confirmed casualties remained unidentified while the rest were already publicly named. According to survivors, there was difficulty in finding the escape route from the blazing warehouse.
Authorities said that the fire may have been due to the dangerous condition of the Oakland warehouse.