Fire Officials have been complaining about code violations for years. There have been reports of inspectors being paid off, of classrooms without windows or escape routes, of a complete failure to safeguard the lives of children. Finally, someone listened.
State Slaps Ramapo on Private-school Fire Inspections
“News that the State officials are cracking down on Ramapo alleging shoddy fire inspection work at local private schools was greeted by Rockland officials with relief and without surprise.
“This is a blatant example of the pervasive lack of code enforcement in Ramapo that I have been talking about for over two years,” said State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski. “Two things must happen immediately: 1. The State Education Commissioner must issue an order so that County Fire Coordinator Gordon Wren can organize an inspection of every private school that has been signed off on by this inspector, as well as those never inspected. 2. The Department of State must take over the building department and issue an immediate moratorium on all variances and temporary certificates of occupancy. I have been pushing for these actions for two years and this latest incident is a crystal clear example of the lawlessness that prevails in certain municipalities.”
According to The Journal News, the state Division of Building Standards and Codes has threatened to take control of inspections in Ramapo; and the state Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning wrote a scathing analysis of Fire Inspector Adam Peltz’s work.
“The state has finally acknowledged what I have been saying for years: Ramapo is failing to take satisfactory action to safeguard children who attend private schools,” said County Executive Ed Day in a prepared statement. “If Ramapo continues to shirk its responsibility to inspect and act on fire safety violations at private schools let the state empower the County of Rockland to do the job. We stand ready, willing and able to make sure that all schools meet safety standards to protect children. That action is now the responsibility of the town, which reports its findings to the state. We have known for years that serious violations in private schools have been allowed to continue unabated. This must stop before there is a tragedy. I commend my colleague in the state Legislature, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, for using his office to push state officials to take action on this important safety issue.””
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