Ex-employees say Ghost Ship founder disregarded fire hazard warnings

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Part of the investigation into a deadly fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse that killed at least ten people in Oakland concerns the building not being up to code and there is one person in particular who authorities would like to speak to about that. Fire officials who have been briefed on the investigation underway tell ABC News this does not look like a case of arson, but criminal charges are still a possibility.

RELATED: Complaint filed against Oakland warehouse before deadly fire

A key person in this case is Derick Ion, who founded the Ghost Ship Artist Collective and ran it at the warehouse. The Ghost Ship served as a work and live space for creatives in the area. People who used to work for Ion tell the I-Team police and fire officials warned him about the fire hazard at the building but he reportedly laughed off those warnings.

The I-Team reached out to Ion for comment but have received no response as of Saturday evening.

A post on Ion's Facebook page is getting a lot of attention. It says, "Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound... it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope... to be standing now in poverty of self worth." Micah is Ion's wife.

Several people blasted Ion for focusing on his own situation instead of the terrible loss of life. Ion held frequent parties at the warehouse. Fliers promoting them are still on his website, as is a video from one party this past June.

RELATED: Oakland fire helpline, information for families

The Oakland Planning and Building Department said Saturday that Ion should have requested a special permit for Saturday night's rave, but he did not. It clearly would not have been approved due to having so many people crowded into a space so cluttered with what would become fuel for the inferno.

PHOTOS:At least 9 dead in Oakland warehouse fire

Click here to donate and help the victims and their families.

Click here for full coverage of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.