Sources: Fire alarm taken offline night before fatal Spring Valley fire, possibly due to Passover cleansing ritual
Three government and religious leaders tell News 12 that the fire alarm system at the site of a fatal fire in Spring Valley was taken down for several hours the night before the fire broke out.
Sources say that the possible reason for the alarm being taken offline was likely due to a cleansing ritual of the kitchen ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The holiday starts Saturday, but the koshering process typically begins days before and involves the removal of all foods with leavening agents. Sometimes, a blowtorch is used in the oven.
While the director of Rockland County Fire and Emergency Services was unable to confirm any of that information, he did tell News 12 that the investigation is also drilling down on the building's sprinkler system - and whether it was fully functional at the time of the fire.
"I have conflicted reports that it was a fully sprinkler building or a partially sprinkler building," says Chris Kear, the director of the Rockland County Fire and Emergency Services.
News 12 is also continuing to investigate the state, county and village inspection history of the property.
The village records officer denied a public records request for a copy of its last building inspection report, but News 12 did track down a total of 27 violations from six inspections by the New York state Health Department in recent years - with some of them citing fire safety regulations.
A spokesman for Evergreen Court responded, telling News 12 all the violations were all corrected and minor in nature.
News 12 also learned that the property was equipped with a Johnson Controls alarm system, but it's not known if it was turned on at the time of the fire.
Evergreen's spokesman wouldn't answer that question but said their automated alarm system was last inspected in August with only minor repairs required.
Others are raising concerns about low water pressure in the area.
Investigators say they'll be out for at least several days in their search for answers.