'Heartbreaking' testimony marks day 2 of Ghost Ship fire preliminary hearing

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Thursday was day two of the preliminary hearing for the two men facing criminal charges for the Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36 people in Oakland last year. (KGO-TV)

Thursday was day two of the preliminary hearing for the two men facing criminal charges for the warehouse fire that killed 36 people in Oakland last year.

RELATED: One year later: What we now know about the Oakland Ghost Ship fire

Twenty-five-year-old Nicholas Bouchard took the stand. He says he cosigned the lease on the ghost ship warehouse along with defendant Derek Almena in 2013. But he says with in a few weeks he hired a lawyer to get off the lease because he wanted to bring the building up to code and he said Almena did not.

VIDEO: Remembering the Oakland Ghost Ship Fire victims one year later

It was another emotional day in court. Leah Danielle Vega was on the witness stand most of the day. She was a ghost ship resident who went by the name of Swan.

She described the Ghost Ship as a stone hut saying the building was not intended for humans. As for power in the warehouse she said, "the electricity went off as much as it was on the week before the fire."

Vega called the Ghost Ship a living breathing hive of dreams with no clear cut leadership. And she broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.

"I don't know why the prosecution has to ask her about people who have been deceased. It's irrelevant and it was terribly tragic to see her weeping in court," said Derick Almena's attorney Tony Serra.

Victims' families shook their heads in court in frustration as they listened to the testimony calling it "heartbreaking."

"We lost our children in the fire and we want answers that's what this is about," said one victim's grandmother Emily Grandchamps.

The preliminary hearing will detgermine if Almena and his associate Max Harris should go to trial on 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter and bear criminal responsiblity for the deadly fire.

Click here for full coverage on the deadly Ghost Ship Fire.

Related Topics:
ghost ship firefire deathinvestigationcourt casecourtOakland
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