State’s Attorney Judy Dicine talked about the conviction of Narinesammy Ramsammy.

                                       Photographs By John Murray

   A press conference was held on Friday October 19, in the lobby of the Waterbury City Hall to announce the prison sentence imposed on Narinesammy Ramsammy, the landlord who was convicted of second degree manslaughter and various fire safety codes for a fatal fire that occurred on March 16, 2011 at a multi-family house he owned at 82-84 Fox Street.

Narinesammy Ramsammy

   A joint investigation by the Waterbury Police Department and the Waterbury Fire Marshal’s Office determined that Ramsammy illegally converted the 2-family house into a 4 unit apartment building. Ramsammy did not obtain any building or electrical permits for the work performed and the building did not meet fire safety standards (i.e. no fire safe doors, lack of functioning smoke detectors, and lack of proper egress).

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary opened the press conference in the lobby of City Hall.

Waterbury Fire Chief Dave Martin explained that the city is overhauling its fire prevention unit to expedite building inspections of multi-family apartments.

   Pedro Claudio (age 32), a tenant of 82-84 Fox Street, died in the fire from smoke inhalation. He lived in the attic which Ramsammy illegally converted into a fourth apartment, which only had one means of egress (violation) and did not have operable smoke detectors.

Mayor O’Leary said Waterbury is going to aggressively pursue illegal housing in the city.

   This case is historical because it is the first time in Connecticut and one of the first times in the country that a landlord has been convicted of manslaughter for the death of tenant in an illegal apartment fire. Present at the press conference was Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, Waterbury State’s Attorney Maureen Platt, State’s Attorney Judy Dicine (the attorney who prosecuted the case), the victim’s mother, and various officials from the Waterbury Fire and Police Department’s. In addition to announcing the prison sentence imposed on Ramsammy, Mayor O’Leary announced a plan to combat illegal and unsafe housing in the city so a tragedy such as this does not occur again.

 Pedro Claudio’s mother was grateful something positive is coming out of her son’s death.

   O’Leary told the gathering that Waterbury was sending out a loud message that the city would not tolerate illegal housing. He encouraged neighbors to be vigilant in watching sudden changes in local housing situations, and to report there observations to the police.

   O’Leary said neighbors are the ones who will be the first to spot the signs of illegal apartments, like too many mailboxes, water meters and satellite dishes.

   “The neighbors always know first,” O’Leary said. “You see something fishy, say something. You could save a life.”