Williamsburg residents say matzo factory is sending noxious fumes into neighborhood

Brooklyn
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WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — Passover is less than one month away and matzo is sure to be a big seller for the Jewish holiday.

But for some residents, the smoke from the factory is a big problem. Williamsburg resident Rosa Ortiz says the smoke is irritating her 9-year-old child’s asthma.

“The smoke wakes us up in the middle of the night,” Ortiz said. “My apartment feels like it is on fire.”

Ortiz joined dozens of members of the South 5th Street Block Association as they demonstrated against the Congregation Satmar’s matzo factory at 423 Broadway.

The Williamsburg southside residents claim that the factory spews toxic coal smoke in the early morning hours. It is so bad that some residents say they have to wear masks in order to get to the subway.

“It smells like burning rubber, a horrible smell,”  Marino Ferreras, a neighbor who joined the protesters — gas mask in hand — said.

Several longtime residents showed PIX11 videos and still pictures of the smoke from the factory and they pointed out garbage cans full of ash on the street.

They say they’ve been complaining to 311 for at least seven years and that the city has done nothing.

“We have a lot of emissions of coal and wood,” John Cook, another protester, said. “Even when we close the windows.”

PIX11 tried to speak to people inside the factory to get their side but we were shown the door.

But one neighbor supported the work being done at the matzo factory.

“These people are here just to make a fuss,” Yiddi Werberger said. “There’s no problem here. It’s all clean wood and coal.”

Another protester added that they don’t want to shut the matzo factory down.

“We want a responsible neighbor to act responsibly,” Andrew Rein said.

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