DEDHAM -- Two Quincy brothers were sentenced today to three years in state prison followed by three years of probation for renting an unsafe basement apartment where an immigrant father and his two young sons were trapped and perished in a 2009 fire.
“There was absolutely no need for these three people to have died,” said Norfolk County prosecutor Lynn Beland. She said Jason and Andy Huang “gambled” with the lives of the victims.
Killed in the early morning fire on March 25, 2009, in the building at 100 Robertson St. in Quincy were Iraqi immigrant Oudah Moshah Frawi, 39, and his sons, Ali, 1, and Hassan, 2 months old. The basement apartment lacked proper egress and smoke detectors.
Both Huangs were convicted of three counts of manslaughter and four counts of wanton and reckless behavior resulting in death. Andy Huang was also convicted of perjury.
Explaining the sentence, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman said the brothers did not fit the mold of notorious slumlords. He said the evidence showed they had taken some steps to improve conditions at the building, and he noted they had no criminal records.
Kevin Reddington, Andy Huang’s attorney, said the building had been in disrepair for years under previous owners and, just before the Huangs, a bank that had foreclosed on it.
“Do you think, Judge, if that tragedy occurred a week before he bid on that house we would have bankers sitting here? I don’t think so,” he said in court.
After the sentencing, Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and State Fire Marshal Steve Coan said they would push for a state law that would go after landlords whose buildings are unsafe.
They said individual communities have ordinances that address the issue, but they vary widely, are often ambiguous, and lack teeth.
They said their proposal would be comprehensive, clear and concise, and would likely include jail time for violators.