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Thursday, October 24, 2013 

Fire breaks out at illegally structured yeshiva in Ramapo

In upstate New York, a terrible fire broke out at a yeshiva improperly built in a house, causing a girl some smoke injury (and yes, I think it's Haredi-owned):
A 13-year-old girl suffered smoke inhalation Wednesday after a fire broke out at a building next door to a yeshiva that had been illegally converted from a single-family house on Highview Road.

The girl, who was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital, had been home alone in the caretaker’s house with two small dogs when an iron left unattended in a second-floor bedroom ignited the fire at 95 Highview Road, authorities said.

The house apparently lacked smoke detectors as flames left the house uninhabitable for the family of five, officials said. Tallman Fire Chief Chris Szklany said 40 firefighters responded and made short work of the fire and smoke flowing from the two-story building.

Neighbor Annette Doerr called the fire a “nightmare,” especially after she said close to 150 students at the yeshiva next door at 97 Highview Road moved close to the burning house to watch firefighters. She has surveillance cameras and said she counted the students.

“The kids all came out and went onto the lawn to look at the fire,” she said. “I’m screaming like a lunatic at them to get away. I brought them onto my lawn.”

[...] Ramapo took Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan to state Supreme Court to force installation of fire-safety devices and to ensure the congregation obtain site-plan approvals and get variances. The agencies are still reviewing the plans.

Since then, the number of students and teachers has been capped at 85 for the house, but the school has added two trailers and set up classrooms on the second floor to accommodate up to 165 students.

Officials with the Rockland County Illegal Housing Task Force, which reported the yeshiva to the New York State Codes Division some time ago, blasted the owners of the property Wednesday.

“It was an illegal school in a former one-family home which has been cited by the town, but continues to operate as it seeks tax-exempt status,” said John Kryger, task force chairman. “If this fire had occurred at 3 a.m. instead of 3 p.m., the fire departments would be pulling bodies from that rental unit, never mind the school.”
Boy, those dummies who run the neighborhood have really led to a disaster by not enforcing a requirement for the school to get both legal status and fire safety devices. They owe an apology to the teen girl who fell ill from the smoke, and the owners should be forced to stop teaching there for now or pay serious fines. They must also pay medical bills for the girl.

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