Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
January 22, 2010 Issue
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State: Complex must be evacuated

By Dan Hust
PHILLIPSPORT — According to Mamakating Town Supervisor Bob Fiore, the NYS Department of Health (DOH) served a mandatory evacuation order on the occupants of the former Homowack Lodge yesterday.
Whether or not it will be complied with remains to be seen.
So far, officials have noted little effort to remove upwards of 400 people from the old hotel in Phillipsport, and a girls camp continues to operate on the grounds without the proper permits from the town and state.
The local fire chief has deemed the complex a fire trap, with the sprinkler and alarm systems out of action in spots, and serious code compliance issues scattered throughout the buildings.
Various state agencies and the township have cited the Homowack’s owners, a trio of Hasidic groups based in Rockland County, for numerous issues with the hotel and its grounds, and a fire consumed an unoccupied structure on Saturday, now being investigated as arson.
Up till yesterday, the Lodge’s occupants were under a voluntary evacuation order that seemed to be only partially followed. If this mandatory evacuation order is ignored, the owners could face fines and court action, perhaps even intervention by the Attorney General’s Office.
The DOH said this week that an administrative enforcement action hearing has been tentatively scheduled for August 13, but in the meantime, Fiore said he’s glad the state is pushing harder.
“I can tell you one thing,” he remarked yesterday afternoon. “I might sleep better tonight.”

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