Derick Ion Almena, director of the Oakland art commune that burned down, killing at least 36 people -- fell apart during a live interview on NBC's "Today."
Almena claimed his building was "up to code," and defended the space ... saying he let his own children sleep there. He quickly got agitated, started yelling and refused to answer questions.
He shouted at Matt Lauer, "I would rather get on the floor and be trampled by the parents! I'd rather let them tear at my flesh than answer these ridiculous questions!"
It got more bizarre as Almena lost it, begged for mercy and Lauer bailed out.