Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Monsey, NY - Journal Editorial: We Praise The Orthodox For Having Good Fire Vol. But They Need To Enforce Buildng Codes Too

Published on: December 1, 2008 02:32 PM
By: Journal News
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share
Monsey and Spring Valley firefighters at the scene of a fire at 21 Rita Ave. in Kaser Tuesday. (Vincent DiSalvio/The Journal News)Monsey and Spring Valley firefighters at the scene of a fire at 21 Rita Ave. in Kaser Tuesday. (Vincent DiSalvio/The Journal News)

Monsey, NY - Building codes save lives. For the safety of workers, residents, families in a building or home, and for the first-responders who rush in when everyone else is rushing out, these codes must be followed and enforced.

This week, a fire at a Kaser synagogue once again turned up a slew of violations, from bars on second-story windows to a lack of smoke detectors and sprinklers. Building and health codes are hardly rules made up just to cite for fines - these are well-thought-out measures that save lives. “Every one of these statutes has dead bodies” traced to them, Rockland Emergency Services director Gordon Wren Jr. told the Editorial Board.

Advertisement:

Tuesday’s fire took place at the Khal Kdishas Ley synagogue and study center, which functions as a dormitory, with 21 beds in nine rooms on the second floor. What was found there after flames were quickly knocked down led officials to condemn the structure. Just the window bars alone spell certain danger - the men there would have been unable to flee their rooms in the case of a serious fire. Add to that the other safety and health risks, including loose wiring and the detection of mold.

A real hazard

A rash of building and health code violations turning up during a fire is hardly an isolated occurrence. In 2007, Hillcrest Fire Department threatened to stop covering the Village of New Square because of the imminent danger their volunteers faced fighting fires amid building and safety violations. Real danger lurks for a firefighter faced with a home carved up, rebuilt, changed without following building codes: Turning a corner to find a wall where a hallway was anticipated, having to beat back flames fed by materials stored in an illegal home business. To those who believe such problems are limited to pockets of heavily populated Ramapo, think again.

In January 2005, two FDNY firefighters, including Lt. John Bellew of Pearl River, were forced to jump to their deaths after becoming trapped in an illegally converted Bronx apartment house. Four firefighters, including Jeffery Cool of Garnerville, were critically injured. Wren said that the danger of building code violations can be found in all Rockland neighborhoods. He pointed to illegal apartments tucked into high ranches. “With the economy,” Wren warns, “it’s going to get worse.”

Long a concern

The special situations confronted by volunteer firefighters in Ramapo’s religious communities cannot be ignored. While newer structures are being built to code, often, older structures that are off the code enforcement radar pose risks. It is dangerously too late when violations are discovered amid the chaos of a fire or other emergency.

Kaser Deputy Mayor Shlomo Koenig told the Editorial Board that his village has very stringent codes, especially for multi-family dwellings that meet residents’ needs. “In some cases, our multi-family codes are more stringent than the state fire codes.” Koenig also said that the Monsey Fire Department has been top-notch. “Our village, I believe, is very safe.”

We praise the growing cooperation among the religious community and first-responders, especially with more members of the Orthodox and Hasidic communities volunteering. As well, firefighters in Ramapo have become more sensitized to the community and culture. For example, firefighters understand how to treat religious books and torah - scrolls so holy in Judaism that they are by law accorded a funeral rite. As well, more members of the Orthodox and Hasidic communities are joining the fire service. Those connections, Wren says, are making everyone safer.

That growing understanding must bring remedial action for buildings like the Kaser center to meet codes and create a safe environment for all.


More of today's headlines

Jerusalem - An 1877 painting by French impressionist Camille Pissarro, “Peasant with a Donkey, Pontoise,” set a record last night for a painting sold at auction in... Washington - There's the senator from upstate Chappaqua, the financial whiz president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan, a Queens native turned federal...

 

Total11

Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 01, 2008 at 02:46 PM Big Masmid Says:

I wonder if this is a Kiddush Hashem or........

2

 Dec 01, 2008 at 03:12 PM Anonymous Says:

are u still wondering? go get a new pair of glasses if u are stil unsure . This building should have been condemned from the day it was built.

3

 Dec 01, 2008 at 03:21 PM robroy560 Says:

Unfortuantely, we yidden have a lack of respect for building codes. Don't give me the self hating Jew garbage. The facts speak for themselves. Look at a lot of the illegal apartments in Brooklyn where there is only one way out C'V there is a fire, how will the people get out?

But this is not only a Jewish problem. Plenty slum ares in NYC are guilty too. However it is an important step that we must take to ensure the safety of our own. So you want to make a few extra bucks as a landlord. Ask yourself if it is worth it to have blood on your hands.

4

 Dec 01, 2008 at 03:42 PM Big Masmid Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

are u still wondering? go get a new pair of glasses if u are stil unsure . This building should have been condemned from the day it was built.

I was trying to think positive about Klall Yisroel, like Reb. Levi Yitzchok Barditchiver Z"L did in his times, we have try following in his footsteps.

5

 Dec 01, 2008 at 04:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
robroy560 Says:

Unfortuantely, we yidden have a lack of respect for building codes. Don't give me the self hating Jew garbage. The facts speak for themselves. Look at a lot of the illegal apartments in Brooklyn where there is only one way out C'V there is a fire, how will the people get out?

But this is not only a Jewish problem. Plenty slum ares in NYC are guilty too. However it is an important step that we must take to ensure the safety of our own. So you want to make a few extra bucks as a landlord. Ask yourself if it is worth it to have blood on your hands.

How's about SOME OF US YIDDIN instead of 'we yiddin' have ............

6

 Dec 01, 2008 at 06:25 PM Anonymous Says:

while the article may be correct, Mr Wren never loses an opportunity to bash the religious community. always guised as "constructive criticism" but somehow always one sided and subjective.

7

 Dec 01, 2008 at 06:58 PM 5cents Says:

In all the negativity its worth to add that many frum chasidishy yungerleit are prominantly Volunteering to the local EMS & Fire squads. Which is a great kidush hashem.
( I won't mention the local PD...)

8

 Dec 01, 2008 at 06:44 PM OLD MONSEY Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

while the article may be correct, Mr Wren never loses an opportunity to bash the religious community. always guised as "constructive criticism" but somehow always one sided and subjective.

I REMEMBER GORDEN WREN WHEN HE WAS BUILDING INSPECTOR, SAME OLD ANTISEMITE, HE DIDN'T CHANGE. ONLY HE KNOWS HOW TO HIDE IT BETTER

9

 Dec 01, 2008 at 09:50 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #3  
robroy560 Says:

Unfortuantely, we yidden have a lack of respect for building codes. Don't give me the self hating Jew garbage. The facts speak for themselves. Look at a lot of the illegal apartments in Brooklyn where there is only one way out C'V there is a fire, how will the people get out?

But this is not only a Jewish problem. Plenty slum ares in NYC are guilty too. However it is an important step that we must take to ensure the safety of our own. So you want to make a few extra bucks as a landlord. Ask yourself if it is worth it to have blood on your hands.

Soon you're going to tell me, (robroy560) that the slumlords are Yidden, too, and you feel guilty for that, too. Next, you'll feel guilty and embarrassed because Reb Moshe Yankl Greenberg received a Speeding ticket! C'mon, you can't carry the weight of the [entire Yiddishe] world on your shoulders! To be serious. I'm not making light of your concern and offering Mussar, because as a fellow Jew, you want to preserve our good name! That is admirable. And i agree that we have a lot to correct! But, we have to put things a little bit in perspective! Not every act, whether it's Positive or negative, reflects on the entire group!!!

10

 Dec 01, 2008 at 09:55 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

while the article may be correct, Mr Wren never loses an opportunity to bash the religious community. always guised as "constructive criticism" but somehow always one sided and subjective.

There was a certain Automobile manufacturer who also offered "constructive criticism" to the Jews in the form of several venomous books and hateful newspaper articles. He even had a [Reform] Rabbi (Rabbi Franklin) as his "best" friend and neighbor!!!

12

 Dec 03, 2008 at 01:54 AM Tzaddik Poshu t I D E Says:

Being frum does not mean it's OK to violate laws or ignore safety. I've seen things that were dangerous that was done to 'save money and be smart' like:Blocking windows with bricks where there was no other fire escape,directly connecting wires to the wires feeding power into the building,by-passing the fuse box,not installing a working sprinkler system in an office and warehouse as per FD requirement,using cheap lumber to do extra illegal construction within the building and actually having a fire in the business,luckily not during business hours.Laws are to be obeyed even if the rebbe didn't make them up.

13

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!