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Musician testifies during Ghost Ship fire preliminary hearing

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A preliminary hearing for the founder of Oakland's Ghost Ship warehouse where dozens of people were killed in a fire was held Wednesday, with deeply disturbing testimony from two witnesses. (KGO-TV)

The preliminary hearing for the founder of Ghost Ship, Derick Almena and his associate Max Harris, got underway in Oakland Wednesday with deeply disturbing testimony.

The first witness for the prosecution was Aaron Marin, a musician who lived at the Ghost Ship for three weeks leading up to the deadly fire. He described the maze like warehouse as a Disneyland filled with art and artifacts, but he said "I never thought it was a fire hazard. "

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

He described musicians and DJs bringing in amplifiers and a projection tent-like structure the size of a bouncy play house on December 2, 2016. Prosecutors read from Marin's interview with ATF agents soon after the fire, describing the equipment as blocking access to rooms, stairs and potentially life-saving exits.

Defense attorney Tony Serra represents Almena who along with Harris faces 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. "The big bubbly screen blocked everyone in terms of the staircase and that has nothing to do with my client or co-defendant. Someone came and placed those items there, that's not part of the warehouse," Serra said.

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

Marin went on to describe "freaking out" as flames erupted from the floor behind an amplifier and enveloped the second floor. He escaped through a kitchen window as he screamed for help saying people are dying.

It was an emotional moment for the families of the victims who sat solemnly throughout the hearing and were too distraught to do interviews. This could turn into an extraordinarily lengthy preliminary hearing that could last up to two weeks.

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

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