Criminal proceedings against two residents of an unpermitted Oakland live/work warehouse where 36 people died in a 2016 fire were delayed until Wednesday.

Derick Almena and Max Harris are charged with involuntary manslaughter for each of the deaths that occurred when a fire broke out in the warehouse in the city's Fruitvale section and trapped three dozen attendees at an underground musical performance. All 36 died of smoke inhalation.

Illness to court personnel forced the change, according to the Oakland's East Bay Times newspaper. The preliminary hearing involving the suspects was originally scheduled for Monday at the Rene C.

Davidson Courthouse near Oakland's Lake Merritt. The preliminary hearing is a proceeding where a judge determines if there is enough evidence for a trial.

The two men, who have pleaded innocent, were leaders of the Ghost Ship warehouse on 31st Avenue, where some two dozen artists rented living and work space. The building was not zoned for housing and did not have smoke detectors, fire alarms, or emergency exits, according to official reports.

Dozens trapped

The Dec. 2, 2016, fire occurred while dozens of electronic music fans were upstairs to hear several performers. They apparently became trapped when a makeshift stairway collapsed from the fire and a second, more traditional staircase was not easily visible, particularly after the building's lights went out and the warehouse filled with smoke.

Federal and local investigators were unable to determine a precise cause of the fire after months of sifting through wreckage and interviewing survivors. But the Ghost Ship was known to have a jury-rigged electrical system that powered individual living spaces through a maze of extension cords.

"I want someone to be held responsible," said Maria Vega, the mother of 22-year-old fire victim Alex Vega.

Alex Vega's body was found in the arms of his girlfriend, Michela Gregory, who also perished in the disaster.

“It feels like it just happened yesterday,” Maria Vega said, with her other son, Alberto, as both were at the Oakland courthouse for the hearing that was postponed. Family members of other fire victims were present at the courthouse, the newspaper said.

Survivors to testify

Some two dozen former Ghost Ship residents and fire survivors are expected to testify when the preliminary hearing begins Wednesday. The proceeding is expected to last several days.

Harris' attorney, Curtis Briggs, spoke to reporters outside the courtroom on Monday and said the defense counsel was anxious to proceed with the case. He blamed the fire on the owners of the warehouse, not the people who lived or worked at the Ghost Ship, according to the newspaper.

"We're anxious to move forward," Briggs said. "It's finally an opportunity for us to get to the bottom of the truth," he said.

Family members and fire survivors filed a lawsuit against the managers and owners of the Ghost Ship and others, including the city of Oakland. The suit is still pending.