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Pressure builds for fresh look at N.J. building codes in wake of Edgewater fire



Pressure builds for fresh look at N.J. building codes in wake of Edgewater fire

JANUARY 29, 2015, 5:39 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2015, 8:31 PM

Pressure is mounting for a review of state building codes — and even a potential construction moratorium — in the aftermath of a fast-moving fire that destroyed more than half of an Edgewater apartment complex last week and left hundreds homeless.

Officials in Mercer County on Thursday called for an emergency review of state construction codes before a residential community planned by the same developer for Princeton gets evaluated by the state. And Assemblyman Scott Rumana, R-Wayne, said he is working on legislation that will put a moratorium of up to two years on the approval and construction of multi-family housing developments until the state’s building code is revised.

“The goal is not have any New Jersey residents’ lives at stake. But equally as important, it’s to not put our first responders into these buildings, which I would call fire traps,” said Rumana. “I have too much experience in seeing the failures of these types of facilities — if this fire happened seven or 10 hours later, who knows how many people could have died?”

A five-alarm blaze at the Avalon at Edgewater destroyed much of the 408-unit complex, shut schools and roadways, temporarily displaced nearby residents and brought to the surface long-standing issues in the firefighting community about lightweight wood construction — a cheaper, faster and legal style of building that is common in New Jersey and elsewhere.

2 thoughts on “Pressure builds for fresh look at N.J. building codes in wake of Edgewater fire

  1. Is the high-density housing being contemplated for construction in Ridgewood likely to feature lightweight wood construction similar to that of the 408-unit Avalon complex in Edgewater that just went up in smoke?

  2. That fire certainly opened my eyes. Anyone thinking of moving somewhere should research the construction of the building before signing on.

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