Public safety codes are routinely ignored inside Rockland County’s non-public schools and little is being done to curb the problem, a **News 12** investigation has found. Rockland’s fire coordinator Gordon Wren says local religious schools have failed to meet fire codes, which he calls “ticking time bombs.” “Most of these codes have dead bodies behind them,” Wren told News 12. He says the fire codes are ignored by dozens of private schools. News 12 spent the past four months investigating the safety of Rockland’s private schools. Many fire safety records were outdated, incomplete or missing and some school officials refuse to comply with the law. News 12 investigative reporter Tara Rosenblum confronts the code violators and finds out who should be enforcing the rules. You can read the reports and access the video coverage played over two days in December here.
“Facing the threat of a state takeover of its building and fire code inspections, Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme said Wednesday that the village was getting its building department in order. The New York Division of Building Standards and Codes warned the village on Oct. 6 that it had 30 days to address longstanding concerns over fire safety in the village, including problems with inspection records, building permits and applications.They outlined four steps the village needed to take in that time span: Provide an up-to-date list of properties for inspection; review its enforcement program; provide records for three private religious schools using classroom trailers; and digitize Building Department records.Documentation that the village has taken these steps is due to the state this week.Read the complete Journal News coverage here.
“A fire in a Spring Valley home with illegal apartments revealed deplorable conditions Tuesday morning, according to authorities. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found illegal apartments in the basement and throughout the home. In addition, there were no fire alarms in the house. It’s like playing Russian roulette,” Wren said. These people shouldn’t be living in these conditions. If this had happened in the middle of the night and there were no smoke detectors working, who knows what we would have come to, Sohlman said. The fire in Spring Valley comes on the heels of a state agency ordering the village to increase enforcement of its housing codes or face a potential state takeover. The Division of Building Standards and Codes issued an order on Oct. 6 giving the village 30 days to begin inspecting buildings and schools that are riddled with fire and safety violations.” Complete Journal News coverage here.
“Dozens of private religious schools in Ramapo don’t comply with the requirements of the fire safety code, putting the safety of students and firefighters at deadly risk. That warning was delivered at Tuesday night’s East Ramapo school board meeting by Justin Schwartz, a Spring Valley fire captain and Tarrytown rabbi who is a member of the Rockland Illegal Housing Task Force. [Read more…]
“New York state officials have ordered the village to immediately begin inspecting buildings and schools that are rife with fire and safety violations â€” or face a potential takeover. [Read more…]
The Journal News July 16, 2015 “Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, also pressed the New York State Department of Education in a separate letter to enforce regulations mandating private schools in Rockland submit annual fire inspection reports showing the facilities are safe and meet regulations. He said 60 schools are in violation. Zebrowski and a countywide housing task force have raised concerns for several years that the lives of firefighters, students, and predominately poor tenants are being endangered by overcrowded houses carved up into multiple apartments and schools being operated in single-family homes without proper fire suppression equipment. [Read more…]