FDNY busts packed boys home on Staten Island

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FDNY busts packed boys home on Staten Island

A rattletrap Jewish group home that packed scores of teens into two houses on Staten Island has infuriated neighbors and prompted a Fire Dept. probe.

Residents called in complaints alleging that boys were being crammed into the connected properties in Willowbrook, which are linked by a makeshift wooden staircase that allows kids to walk between the homes.

“They run up and down the staircase all night,” said area resident Sylvia Simmons. “It’s very noisy. It’s a big group. About 70. There’s garbage all over the place.”

Simmons said the youths appeared to have little to no adult supervision.

For about a year she and others complained to authorities that the rambunctious boys were a source of noise and disruption to the otherwise quiet bedroom community — and might be at risk of neglect or abuse.

“[One] night maybe 10-11 at night all of a sudden I hear thumping,” said neighbor Leena Appu.

“I thought it was my kids jumping on the bed and I realized the boys had wine bottles in their hands and were jumping on the top of [a] van dancing.”

210813  inside classroom trailer on the lot of 143 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY,
The DOB visited the properties again on Wednesday and found no new violations.

On July 12, the FDNY inspected the operation and found 47 bunkbeds jammed into every available space, including cellars of the properties at 143 Sunset Ave. and 94 Fillmore Ave, department spokesman Frank Dwyer told The Post.

Officials also discovered a commercial-style cafeteria inside the Sunset Avenue home and a 1,000-square-foot trailer in the yard, which the operation was using as “an educational facility,” said Dwyer.

It appeared to have the same offerings as yeshivas, Jewish education centers that are common around Orthodox and Hasidic areas of New York City.

The FDNY then shut down the set-up.

“FDNY members ordered a full vacate for both addresses, based on overcrowding, and lack of egress,” said Dwyer.

“Occupants were able to get their belongings, but not sleep there.”

August 6 , 2021 - Credit: Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post   
 PICTURED --  Illegal yeshiva 143 Sunset Avenue, Willowbrook neighborhood of Staten Island 

 (DOB website shows at least 10 open complaints on this address alone, which cover illegal builings, improper use, illegal electrical hookups. This is verbatim from DOB open violations website " A TRAILER HAS BEEN ON THIS PROPERTY NEXT TO HOUSE AND HAS 70 BOYS LIVING IN IT LIKE A DORM. THEY ARE THEN STUDYING IN THE HOUSE LIKE IT IS A SCHOOL."
Officials also discovered a commercial-style cafeteria inside the Sunset Avenue home and a 1,000-square-foot trailer in the yard.
Stefan Jeremiah for New York Post

Both homes today bear stark postings from the Department of Buildings and FDNY, warnings that returning to the homes would be “imminently perilous to life.”

The DOB visited the properties again on Wednesday and found no new violations, it said, though Appu claimed a construction crew was working inside the Sunset address just hours later that evening. Some neighbors worry that the teens will return.

The Sunset Avenue property owner, Chana Wolner, has racked up $95,030 in fines since purchasing the home in February 2020, including a Department of Buildings violation in December last year for doing electrical work without a permit, which inspectors dubbed “immediately hazardous.”

She was also slapped with violations for improperly adding new gas and electrical lines.

210813_ nypostinhouse, 143 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY,
The Sunset Avenue property owner, Chana Wolner, has racked up $95,030 in fines since purchasing the home in February 2020.

The 68-year-old Wolner has skipped six of seven summonses to appear before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, records show. Her next date is Aug. 18.

The Fillmore Avenue address is owned by 94 Fillmore LLC.

Wolner is an administrator of Nesivos Bais Yaakov, a Yeshiva based at 622 Foster Ave. in Brooklyn. She hung up the phone after being asked about the Staten Island property.

Reps for the school did not reply to requests for comment.

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