OAKLAND, Calif. — A musician who survived the inferno that killed 36 people at a warehouse party in this city last December described in court how he leapt to safety from a second story window.Musician Aaron Marin, a guest at the so-called Ghost Ship, an illegally converted warehouse, testified that he pushed past amps for electrical instruments and an inflatable bouncy tent to get to a kitchen window on the second floor as smoke and flames engulfed the cluttered structure.
“The smoke was so thick I had to close my eyes, “ Marin testified in a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday aimed at determining whether two men charged with 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter in the deadly blaze should stand trial.
“I was just thinking that I hope I make it.”
Marin crawled through the window, hoping someone would bring a ladder to rescue him and others trapped inside.
“I looked down, caught my breath, and put my hands on the railing, but it was getting so hot,” Marin said.
He dropped and landed uninjured into mud.
The sound of screaming party goers and roaring flames had been overwhelming, Marin also testified.
“Ali I noticed was the chaos.”
Prosecutors have charged Derick Almena, the Ghost Ship’s master tenant, and Max Harris, for the 36 deaths from the fire. Officials, who could not determine a cause for the blaze, say the two men created a dangerous environment that lacked safety features like sprinklers and smoke alarms.
Almena and Harris have pled not guilty.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner will determine if a trial should go forward after hearing evidence in this preliminary hearing that’s expected to continue into next week.