49 Schools No Fire Safety Reports

In March, New York State Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski wrote a letter to New York State Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia in regards to his concern that 26 private schools had failed to meet the second deadline for submitting their fire safety reports and more troubling was information received about a municipal fire inspector of several schools who failed to note numerous violations. Carl Thurnau, The Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning had sent letters to both the inspector, Adam Peltz, and to Ramapo Town Supervisor, Christopher St. Lawrence, noting that staff at Rockland Institute for Special Education (RISE) became concerned about the condition of the facility and requested an audit. According to Thurnau, “the violations were so severe that the department required immediate action by administrators to avoid the closing of the facility”. They found numerous exit doors with signage labeled “broken”, deadbolts on several doors, electrical panels with no covers, exposed wiring, extension cords on a bathroom floor, missing electrical covers and exit signs. This opened up re-inspection of three other schools, inspected by Peltz, Bias Yaakov, Green Meadow Waldorf, and Bais Yehuda. In all three cases serious violations were discovered even though the inspector gave the schools a clean report. It was noted in Zebrowkski’s letter that Peltz had inspected and completed 23 Fire Safety Reports for Private Schools and with the 26 outstanding there are now 49 schools without Fire Safety Reports. According to sources, Supervisor St. Lawrence said Monday, “Peltz’s work will be reviewed and fresh inspections will be done.” He continued, “punitive action would be taken against Peltz, if appropriate, after the internal investigation by the Town Attorney’s office and the Building Department”. In the meantime, Thurnau wrote to Peltz, “we are advising schools in your area to seek alternate assistance in completing their annual inspections.”

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