From the New York Post:
FDNY SHUTS TOT CENTER
By ERIN CALABESEand JENNIFER FERMINO
May 27, 2005 -- A Staten Island day-care center was shut down yesterday when firefighters — after reading about its grand-opening celebrations in a local paper — paid a surprise inspection and found it was unlicensed.
The Torah Tots Academy, which was run by the Jewish sect Chabad Lubavitch, had about 80 kids from 2 to 5 years old enrolled, authorities said.
The site of the day-care center — which was run out of two neighboring houses, at 289 Harold St. and 389 Bradley Ave., and a trailer — was also home to Yeshiva Mesivta Menachem and a synagogue.
FDNY brass had initially inspected the site weeks ago.
The program's coordinators had said then that they didn't have the license on them because it was Passover, fire officials said.…
Once the authorities revisited the place, they quickly learned there was no Health Department license to run a day-care center at Harold Street.
Inspectors also found that at the Harold Street building there was no sprinkler system and insufficient fire exits.…
I think NYC should charge Chabad and the center's 'head shaliach' Rabbi Moshe Katzman with reckless endangerment. It would set an example that would prevent many future tragedies, and would also teach an important lesson in Jewish law – dinei malkhuta dina, the laws of your country (especially health and safety laws) have the force of halakha and must be followed.
Halakha is always stricter with possible danger to life than it is with any other mitzvot (except for the three cardinal mitzvot one can not violate in order to save a life).
What Chabad and Rabbi Katzman have done is worse than feeding those children non-kosher food or giving them shatnes mats to take naps on and should be treated as such.