Following a fire that destroyed a 408-unit AvalonBay apartment unit in Edgewater, NJ, officials are calling for a review of the state fire code. Said Mercer County Executive, Brian Hughes: “the Edgewater building burned so quickly and horrifically, despite apparently meeting all current code requirements.” The apartment building had a lightweight, wooden construction which allowed the flames to quickly overwhelm the building. The fire was accidentally started by a maintenance worker using a blowtorch. Town and county officials are calling for a review of the state’s uniform construction code before AvalonBay can proceed with an existing plan to construct 280 units in Princeton, NJ.
The situation calls to mind the recent fire that destroyed an LA apartment complex under construction. With these new buildings apparently meeting the existing building code, many public officials are left to question the adequacy of their current ordinances.