Baltimore, MD - Sept. 9, 2021 - A short while ago, the following was sent by the Bais Yaakov Elementary School Administration:
Dear Faculty, Parents, and Friends,
Today, at about 8:58 am, as the last few parents were dropping off their daughters at school, we heard several loud crackle pops and then a massive explosion. At this time, we lost power and our emergency generator provided limited power to our offices. From the road, we began seeing a line of cars unable to move forward into our campus and backing up on Park Heights. A large tree fell against the power lines that hovered over the driveway and destroyed a local transformer! Throughout the building, each teacher calmed their students and davened beautifully in their rooms in the "dark."
Meanwhile, we opened the service road near the cell tower to allow traffic to leave and enter the campus. However, the challenge was that there was only one-way traffic permitted in any direction on that road. Together with the security officers and our hanhala, we directed traffic in and out of our campus.
We assessed that we would not have electricity and water for more than a couple of hours off our generator. However, we then got the report from BGE and the Baltimore County Police that it would take them about 8-10 hours to fix the problem! Today being Tzom Gedaliah and our faculty fasting, we needed to maintain our dismissal time.
Rabbi Sanders, Rabbi Stein, and the other coordinators conferred and decided to stagger the dismissal beginning at 11 am to reasonably evacuate the campus with faculty support. Chasdei Hashem, with the parents' help and lots of Siyata Dishmaya, we had the smoothest one-way dismissal of KA"H over 1000 people off our campus. Almost everyone was picked up by 1 pm. The police officer working with us told us he was very impressed with how efficiently and nicely everyone acted. It was a true kiddush Hashem!
We thank Hashem for allowing this tree to fall at the exact moment when no one was under that spot. Everyone was safe, despite it being a high-usage area during that time. This alone was miraculous.
We must thank Mr. Margolese, Mr. Lefkovitz, and their men, along with the security team from Defender One Security, who helped tremendously throughout this event. We also thank Rabbi Nissel, our CEO, who found a way to get to our campus and was critical in getting the traffic moving.
Of course, we thank our Moros and faculty for keeping the students in the right frame of mind throughout the day even without lights or air conditioning! They were great! Gam Zu L'Tova is still a good message for this upcoming year!
May we have the zchus to be able to have a nice calm day of school tomorrow!
We wish everyone a Gmar Chasima Tova!
Rabbi Yitzchok Sanders and Rabbi Yochanon Stein