Ex-tenant says police visited Oakland warehouse before fire

FILE - This Dec. 13, 2016 file photo shows flowers, pictures, signs and candles, are placed at the scene of a warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif. A form

Defense attorney Tony Serra, representing Derick Almena, leaves a courtroom during a break in the preliminary hearing for the two men charged in the b

Aaron Marin leaves a courtroom during a break at a preliminary hearing for the two men charged in the blaze at the Ghost Ship warehouse Wednesday, Dec

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A former tenant of an Oakland warehouse says police were called to the unlicensed residence several times to help with evictions before a fire last year that killed three dozen people.

Woodworker Jose Avalos moved into the warehouse dubbed the Ghost Ship two years before the Dec. 2, 2016, fire. He testified Thursday on the second day of a preliminary hearing for two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 36 people.

Prosecutors say Derick Almena and Max Harris were primarily responsible for the building.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Avalos testified one officer often stopped by the warehouse, asking, "Is my best friend Derick here?"

Avalos testified there were frequent power outages and residents would go to the auto body shop next door to reset the breaker.