Dozens of haredi yeshivas in Ramapo, New York don't meet fire safety code requirements and put the safety of both students and firefighters at serious risk, a local fire captain who is also a rabbi told the haredi-controlled scandal-plagued East Ramapo school board Tuesday night.
Above: Rabbi and Fire Captain Justin Schwartz
Dozens Of Haredi Yeshivas Unsafe, Local Fire Captain Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Dozens of haredi yeshivas in Ramapo, New York don't meet fire safety code requirements and put the safety of both students and firefighters at serious risk, a local fire captain who is also a rabbi told the haredi-controlled scandal-plagued East Ramapo school board Tuesday night, the Journal News reported.
Justin Schwartz is both a Spring Valley fire captain and a rabbi in nearby Tarrytown. He is also a member of the Rockland [County, New York] Illegal Housing Task Force.
Schwartz came to Tuesday night’s meeting in full dress uniform and spoke during the public comment period.
"Not only has this board and administration failed in educational opportunities to the nonpublic schools, but it allows outrageous conditions detrimental to the health and safety of the students of these schools,” Schwartz said.
Haredi yeshiva students are "commonly crammed" into illegal trailers and single-family homes that have been illegally converted to school use. Many haven’t been inspected in years.
"Sanitary code violations are rife," Schwartz said.
New York State’s Secretary of State Cesar Perales issued a report last week that found that approximately 60 private schools in Rockland County – almost all haredi yeshivas located in the Monsey-Spring Valley area – are missing fire safety reports.
The issue goes beyond haredi schools and extends to illegally modified housing that does not meet fire and safety codes and which also puts the lives of residents and firefighters unnecessarily at risk. Some of that housing is haredi-owned and haredi-occupied, while some is not. A common problem, highlighted by a fire Tuesday morning, is single family homes illegally converted to rooming houses by unscrupulous landlords.
In yesterday’s fire, a woman was reportedly found dead in a single family home on Waldron Avenue in Central Nyack. The 1,600 square foot single family structure had been cut up into four illegal apartments by an unscrupulous landlord. 14 people lived in that illegal rooming house which had no working smoke detectors.