Updated: Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 5:43 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 5:43 PM EDT
WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) -- Deadly lessons learned from a fire at an illegal and unsafe apartment house in Waterbury.
He had only one way out.
"This landlord failed to follow the law and his failure cost the life of a young man," Judith Dicine, the Supervisory Asst. State's Attorney for housing matters, said.
32-year-old, Pedro Claudio, was living in an illegal fourth floor apartment in Waterbury when it caught fire in 2011. Firefighters found him behind a door, dead from smoke inhalation.
"And you don't follow the ordinance and codes, tragedy like Pedro Claudio's situation will happen, and we will not tolerate it here," Mayor Neil O'Leary said.
Landlord Narinesammy Ramsammy was recently sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter, for illegally turning his two family property into four separate apartments. His conviction marks one of the first times in the country, first in Connecticut, that a landlord went to jail for an illegal apartment fire. Multi-family homes are legally required to be inspected, that is, homes with three or more families.
"The problem we had with Fox Street, is it doesn't fall on that list. It was registered as a two family home, and one and two family homes do not get inspected by statute," Chief Dave Martin, of Waterbury Fire Dept. said.
Pedro's mother listened on as officials pledged to check all three or more multi-family houses in the next year. The problem, however, is that there are more illegal apartments out there, so the city needs watch-dogs to ensure there's always more than one way out.
"This is a situation as the fire chief pointed that went under the radar so to speak, and this is where we need the residents of the city of Waterbury to get together, the neighborhoods to get together, to make sure these dwellings are not in their neighborhoods," Mayor O'Leary said.