A fire broke out in a caretaker’s house adjacent to an illegal hasidic yeshiva in Ramapo, New York Wednesday. A 13-year-old girl inside reportedly suffered smoke inhalation and the house – which did not appear to have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or any other fire safety devices – is now uninhabitable.
Students and teachers watch the fire
New Ramapo Fire Highlights Dangers Of Illegal Haredi Yeshivas
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A fire broke out in a caretaker’s house adjacent to an illegal hasidic yeshiva in Ramapo, New York Wednesday. A 13-year-old girl inside reportedly suffered smoke inhalation and the house – which did not appear to have smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or any other fire safety devices – is now uninhabitable, the Journal News reported.
The girl, who was treated at a local hospital, was alone with two small dogs when an unattended iron reportedly ignited the fire.
The property at 95 Highview Road is adjacent to the illegal yeshiva at 97 Highview Road. Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan reportedly illegally coverted that single family home to a yeshiva in 2009.
Ramapo took Talmud Torah Ohr Yochanan to court over the property’s lack of fire safety devices and its lack of necessary permits, approvals and approved plans.
Various local governmental agencies are still reportedly reviewing the plans, four years after the school illegally converted the house and opened without permits.
Ramapo reportedly capped the number of students and teachers at 85 for the house. However, the haredi school added two trailers at the site and opened classrooms on the second floor, so the former single family homes now accommodates up to 165 students – although it is still illegal.
The Rockland County Illegal Housing Task Force previously reported the yeshiva to the New York State Codes Division.
A neighbor said the fire was a “nightmare.” She said about 150 very young students students rushed out of the yeshiva and crowded close to the burning caretaker’s house to watch firefighters try to douse the fire.
“The kids all came out and went onto the lawn to look at the fire. I’m screaming like a lunatic at them to get away. I brought them onto my lawn,” Annettee Doerr reportedly said, adding that she had feared the flames shooting out of a second-floor window would spread to one of the classroom trailers located about 50 feet away.
Doerr, who has security camera footage of the scene, told the Journal News she counted the number of yeshiva students crowding close to view the fire.
She and her husband Bob have reportedly fought the illegal yeshiva since its 2009 inception.
Ramapo has a large number of illegal haredi and hasidic yeshivas and school conversions, along with a large number of single family homes illegally converted into bording houses and small apartments. These illegal conversions endanger residents and firefighters alike, and have caused firefighters and others to band together to fight them.
Rockland County and Ramapo officials do little to stop the problem, allegedly due to the impact of bloc voting by haredi and hasidic communities.
[Hat Tips: Ruthie, Seymour.]