Jane Lerner of the Journal News reports:
MONSEY — A newspaper was ignited inside a men's rest room at a College Road school, and young people there refused firefighters' orders to leave the building, police said yesterday.
When firefighters responding to the automatic alarm arrived late Wednesday, they smelled smoke and ordered people to leave the synagogue and school.
They youngsters would not leave until Ramapo police arrived.
"They laughed when the fire chief ordered everyone out," Ramapo Detective Sgt. John Lynch said yesterday.
Police were interviewing those involved to see if any would be charged with interfering with the duties of firefighters.
"We don't know at this point if the behavior rose to the level of criminal charges," Lynch said.
Arson investigators also were trying to determine who set the newspaper on fire.
The Tallman Volunteer Fire Department was called to Congregation Anshe Sfard at 38 College Road shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, after the alarm was activated.
Firefighters smelled smoke in the building, Assistant Chief Scott Meier said.
"When we asked them to evacuate, they laughed at us," Meier said. "They wouldn't move until the cops got there."
There was no damage to the building, authorities said.
A young man went into the men's room and burned Wednesday's edition of The New York Post, which had a picture of three women in bathing suits on its front page, police said.
Firefighters said they were angry that those in the school didn't follow their orders.
"We're the ones getting out of bed at 11 o'clock at night to protect them," Meier said. "What will it take for them to cooperate with us? Do we have to pull one of them out of a building dead one night?"
Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator Gordon Wren Jr. said one problem was that no adults were supervising the high school-age congregants.
He also said the students had turned off the alarms.
"I would think things would have been done differently if adults were there," Wren said.
Wren said the school needed a plan in case of fire. He said school administrators needed to emphasize that students should leave the building when an alarm sounds.
"When the alarms go off, people should leave a building with no questions asked," Wren said. "In this case, the alarms went off and they silenced it."
Kids will be kids. The real story here is the lack of adult supervision and the clear disrespect the yeshiva students showed to firefighters. And those problems stem from one source – haredi rabbis.
By the way, similar situations have happened with alarming frequency at the Lubavitch Yeshiva of Minnesota.
[Hat tip: DovBear.]