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'Somebody is going to be hurt.' Spring Valley village worker breaks silence to discuss safety code concerns

Frank Youngman told News 12's Senior Investigative Reporter Tara Rosenblum that he was compelled to break his silence.

News 12 Staff

Nov 30, 2022, 10:31 PM

Updated 565 days ago


A current Spring Valley village worker who spent years on the front lines of Rockland County's code enforcement crisis spoke with News 12 exclusively about problems he's afraid could lead to another deadly tragedy.
Frank Youngman provided a closeup look at the code enforcement failures that led tot he deadly fire at Evergreen Court Home For Adults when he spoke to News 12's Senior Investigative Reporter Tara Rosenblum.
"I'm near the end of my rope, something has got to be done," he says. 
The longtime fire inspector says a lack of resources and political will for real change has left him concerned that another Evergreen tragedy could occur.
The fire took the life of an Evergreen resident and firefighter Jared Lloyd. 
Youngman has never been willing to share his views on camera, fearful of putting his job at risk or being sued, but says it's important to speak out now.
"I'm hoping that the village opens up their eyes to see what the potential liability they have," he says. "I think people are overall interested in safety, and if people knew what's going on and the fact village not run correctly without any safeguards in place, they'd be up in arms because at the end of day, taxpayers pay for it."
During an hourlong ride along a2-mile stretch, he showed News 12 various building code violations.
Youngman called out the village board.
"They're running this place into the ground. The mayor says'yes,' they say 'no.' They just don't care. Somebody's going to get hurt. Something's going to happen," he says.
Youngman also has another role as the Hillcrest fire chief and says he was one the responders to the deadly Evergreen fire last year.
"I don't sleep at night. There's, I don't know, just can't get out of my mind. I don't think I'll forget it."
Youngman says he questions why Erika Krieger, the state oversight monitor who was placed in Spring Valley several years ago to improve code enforcement, disappeared from the post shortly after the tragedy.
Rockland County is now in charge of oversight and the department with its newly formed task force.
"The county took us over now and rightfully so. The village just wasn't cutting it and I think that the state should have come in here and forced the village to hire people and everything," he says.
In response to Youngman's allegations involving the village board,  Spring Valley Trustee Zack Clerina denied any claims of mismanagement and tells News 12 the departments are properly funded.
News 12 also spent several months trying to reach state officials regarding Krieger's tenure as the oversight monitor but has not yet received a response.   

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