The Journal News reports:
The fire district serving New Square wants a public hearing on removing the village from its jurisdiction.
Citing fire and safety code violations persisting for years, the Moleston Fire District wants the Ramapo Town Board to schedule a hearing on relieving the district of providing emergency services to the village.
Concerns involve the safety of the volunteer firefighters who face dangerously unknown conditions in the village of more than 6,000 people, ranging from staircases to nowhere to commercial enterprises in residential buildings, Herbert Silverstein, fire district chairman, said yesterday.
"We've been in a life-and-death situation for many years," said Silverstein, a 46-year member of the Hillcrest Fire Department, which is overseen by Moleston. "I'm worried about my firemen."
At the insistence of Moleston and Rockland Fire Coordinator Gordon Wren Jr., the state began inspections of the village four years ago. Wren also is a Moleston commissioner.
More than 80 buildings failed to meet state fire and safety codes, according to the state's partial survey.
New Square did not adopt the state's codes, which are mandatory for municipalities, until 2005.
Though progress has been made - state officials have noted that new multifamily housing has the required sprinkler systems - hazardous conditions remain.
Houses have little space between them, permitting fires to spread easily, and limited parking means more cars on the streets to block the path of emergency vehicles.
Silverstein recalled a fire Feb. 7 in which two residential buildings were destroyed and another was damaged. The fire was spotted by a man walking by about 2 a.m.
"He alerted the people in the house," Silverstein said of the passer-by. "If that did not happen, we would have had body bags all over the place. It was just a matter of luck."…
Realize what this means. New Square, home of the Sqverer Rebbe, a village under his complete control, has for many years systematically violated state and local laws and codes meant to ensure the safety of citizens and public safety personnel alike. The article notes a similar 1991 effort to remove New Square from the fire district. That earlier effort stalled when politicians reached a "compromise" with New Square officials – a "compromise" New Square immediately violated.
These hasidim are holy men? Please. They're criminals, both in the eyes of secular law and in Jewish law, as well. Halakha recognizes secular law (dina d'malchuta dina) in all matters not in direct conflict with the Torah; it also recognizes the need to take proactive safety measures. (See, for example, the halakhot mandating a fence around one's roof and the covering or fencing of a pit or well. Those halakhot are interpreted broadly to require other forms of safety precautions.)
Remember the New Square pardon scandal? The one where four New York Hasidic leaders who were convicted of stealing $40 million in student grants, small-business loans and housing subsidies were pardoned by President Clinton on his way out of office? New Square voted in a block for Hillary Rodham Clinton in an allegedly quid-pro-quo arrangement brokered by the Squarer Rebbe himself. Add the disregard for public safety and other crimes. Now ask yourself the following question: Why have the leading Orthodox rabbinic and communal bodies and leaders not publicly condemned this behavior and the man who clearly has sanctioned it?
Of course, the answer is complex, but one salient reason stands out from the rest – people in glass houses should not throw stones. In other words, the rest of our Orthodox leadership is at least as dirty as New Square's. And that is the lesson you should learn from this post.