Yeshiva fire raises questions about missing sprinklers

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A fire at a New Square girls' yeshiva is raising safety concerns Monday about a missing sprinkler system.

Firefighters responded to 15 Roosevelt Ave. around 11:50 Saturday night after an automatic alarm went off. They found smoke and flames in a second-floor office, and they believe a coffee pot may have started the fire.

While the flames were contained and quickly brought under control, officials say they found a bigger problem.

"The sprinkler systems are missing," said Hillcrest Fire Department Assistant Chief Kim Weppler. "[It's] a grave concern to us for the health and safety of the children and teachers inside. And of course, for us, hampering our firefighting capabilities."

Sprinkler systems are required by law in public buildings.

Classes resumed Monday as workers cleaned up the estimated $15,000 in damage. A worker, who spoke off camera, expressed concern that the smoke odor is too strong and possibly poses a threat for students with asthma.

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