OAKLAND (CBS / AP) – The founder of an Oakland artists’ colony where dozens of people burned to death says he is sorry, but deflected blame for the blaze that gutted the warehouse that he now describes as a “mass grave.”

Derick Ion Almena, who leased and operated the warehouse full of artists where the fire erupted Friday, told the “Today Show” on Tuesday that he was “Incredibly sorry.” He said the only reason he was there Tuesday was to put his face and his body in front of the scene.

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Almena said he started the community in the warehouse as a dream for the arts and performing arts, but, he said, sometimes “your dream is bigger than your pocketbook.”

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Almena says he signed a lease for the building that “was to city standards supposedly.”

Almena says he lived in the warehouse with his family and other residents, but said he didn’t make a profit. He said, “This is not profit; this is loss. This is a mass grave.”

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