HEAT ALERT

Extreme heat blankets the region; heat advisory, air quality alert issued for the Hudson Valley

Evergreen Court: Rabbi conducted annual cleaning of kitchen with blowtorch ahead of fatal fire

Evergreen Court has confirmed that approximately an hour and a half before the fire broke out Tuesday, a 50-year rabbi conducted a koshering process in the building's kitchen using a blow torch ahead of Passover.

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2021, 9:10 PM

Updated 1,180 days ago

Share:

Evergreen Court has confirmed that approximately an hour and a half before the fire broke out at the assisted living facility Tuesday, a rabbi conducted a koshering process in the building's kitchen using a blowtorch ahead of Passover.
Three government and religious leaders tell News 12 the facility's fire alarm system was taken down. However Evergreen Court says the fire and sprinkler systems were fully functioning and that they notified fire officials of the annual cleaning ahead of time.
Officials say the rabbi, who has conducted the cleaning process for 15 years without incident, wrapped up around 11:15 p.m. Monday, about an hour and a half before the fire alarm went off.
Evergreen Court says the fire alarms went off at 12:45 a.m. and by 12:53 a.m., a receptionist called 911.
While they say there's no indication the cleansing started the fire, Chris Kear, Rockland's director of Fire & Emergency Services says he doesn't have enough information about it and that the cause is still under investigation.
Three religious and government officials say Evergreen's fire alarm system was turned off.
Evergreen is denying those allegations, saying their "alarm and sprinkler system remained fully functioning" and that they alerted the fire department of the cleansing ahead of time so there was "no delay in response time."
Kear says sometimes systems are turned offline to prevent false alarms. He also says they do not know if the entire building had sprinklers and that their alarm system was offline.
"It's still operational. It just doesn't transmit to the alarm company or the dispatch center so if the alarm activates in the building, which it did in this case, it still alerts the residents in the building," he says.
Sources say it was likely turned offline because of the cleansing ritual.
Fire officials say they're looking into whether the entire building had functioning sprinklers and said a major issue was water pressure.
In order to get enough water, they had to connect their larger hoses to fire hydrants 3,200 feet away.
Investigators say they still don't know the cause of the fire and will be looking into whether the fire system being offline caused any major delays, why the water pressure was so low close by and if everything in Evergreen Court was up to code.


More from News 12
2:05
HEAT ALERT: Heat advisory and air quality alert in effect as temperature to feel around 100

HEAT ALERT: Heat advisory and air quality alert in effect as temperature to feel around 100

0:55
Headlines: Woman stabbed in Newburgh, Peekskill homicide, driver injured as power lines fall on car

Headlines: Woman stabbed in Newburgh, Peekskill homicide, driver injured as power lines fall on car

2:46
‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

2:35
Westchester County opens pools and beaches early as intense heat grips region

Westchester County opens pools and beaches early as intense heat grips region

0:53
Heat prompts graduation move for Orange-Ulster BOCES students

Heat prompts graduation move for Orange-Ulster BOCES students

0:20
Kingston road closure for new lane markings

Kingston road closure for new lane markings

0:28
Voters in 3 districts approve school budgets after earlier rejections

Voters in 3 districts approve school budgets after earlier rejections

0:46
Bedford police officers honored for saving family from house fire

Bedford police officers honored for saving family from house fire

0:48
Westchester County takes steps to protect domestic violence survivors

Westchester County takes steps to protect domestic violence survivors

2:06
Tara Rosenblum discusses exclusive News 12 investigation 'When Home Hurts'

Tara Rosenblum discusses exclusive News 12 investigation 'When Home Hurts'

2:28
Walt Kane discusses KIYC documentary on New Jersey’s treatment of sex assault survivors

Walt Kane discusses KIYC documentary on New Jersey’s treatment of sex assault survivors

1:34
What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's Sunday sauce

What's Cooking: Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace's Sunday sauce

1:08
Garden Guide: Three tips for perfect Orchids

Garden Guide: Three tips for perfect Orchids

9:43:53
12 tips to help keep your pets cool during the dog days of summer

12 tips to help keep your pets cool during the dog days of summer

1:29
Police: 1 of 2 students involved in Bedford car crash dies from injuries

Police: 1 of 2 students involved in Bedford car crash dies from injuries

1:49
Yonkers police find no validity in alleged bomb threat

Yonkers police find no validity in alleged bomb threat

1:33
59-year-old Marlboro woman stabbed outside of watermelon truck in Newburgh

59-year-old Marlboro woman stabbed outside of watermelon truck in Newburgh

1:52
Asbestos discovery in East Ramapo schools prompts parents, NYCLU to rally

Asbestos discovery in East Ramapo schools prompts parents, NYCLU to rally

0:45
Veteran Westchester firefighter dies after two-year battle with 9/11-related cancer

Veteran Westchester firefighter dies after two-year battle with 9/11-related cancer

1:38
Poughkeepsie sustainable farmers race against heat to protect themselves, crops

Poughkeepsie sustainable farmers race against heat to protect themselves, crops