The presentation was made to 170 teachers from the New York area and beyond. The presentation was followed by lunch of salad, pasta, and Shmura Matzah. At 1:30 PM, after the presentation and luncheon was over, thirteen members of the group entered the elevator.
“The elevator jerked suddenly and was stuck in between floors,” remarked one woman who was stuck. One woman had a flight to catch. Everyone was calm and had cell phone service.
One woman called her husband who advised her to call the 911 dispatcher.
The New York City Fire Department responded immediately. Within ten minutes, the firemen pried open the door with axes. After opening the elevator door, they were able to insert a chair in the elevator itself and helped each woman out one by one. One of the thirteen expressed to the firemen that she was extremely claustrophobic. The firemen helped her out first.
“I am just very thankful and grateful to be out of there,” remarked one teacher from Brooklyn.
Torah Umesorah has been sponsoring such workshops for decades. Its membership consists of over 675 day schools and yeshivos, with a total student enrollment of over 190,000.
The building is three years old and has six floors. It contains 30,000 square feet of office space. The building was purchased just over a year ago by Torah UMesorah for 7.86 million dollars.
William Rapfogel, executive director of MetCouncil on Jewish Poverty, remarked, “The actions of the fire department today in the Torah UMesorah building are heroic and typical of the kind of work that the Fire Department does, not just for our community, but for all New Yorkers. Commissioner Cassano continually demonstrates remarkable leadership in running a fire department that is efficient, capable and sensitive to the needs of each and every community. New York City is lucky to have such a man at FDNY’s helm.”