Suzanne Daly and Susan McIntire recently wrote into The Record, a North Jersey newspaper, to lament the lack of action being taken in response to a giant 2015 fire in Edgewater, New Jersey.
The opinion piece, which ran January 21, begins thus:
“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the massive fire at the Avalon apartment complex in Edgewater. Fire departments from all over Bergen County and beyond were called to respond. Because of the type of construction, the fire spread quickly through the “void” spaces in the building–much more quickly than was humanly possible to contain–and 240 apartments were lost or uninhabitable. Fortunately, the fire began at 4 p.m. and there was no loss of life. If the fire had begun in the late evening or overnight hours, it could have been a very different story.
The members of the Ladies Auxiliaries of the fire departments of northwest Bergen County are concerned that nothing has been done to address the dangers of this type of construction. What would happen if our firefighters–our husbands, wives, sons and daughters –never came home because they lost their lives in a building that is built to burn? The devastation would be immeasurable, and even more tragic because it could have been prevented.
The Avalon fire highlights the problem with lightweight wood-frame construction of large buildings, which endangers not only the livesof the people living in them but also the lives of our firefighters, who must combat blazes and rescue anyone trapped inside.
Since the Avalon fire, multiple groups have been working to get changes made in the state building code, with no success. This type of construction is so dangerous that truss warnings–similar to the hazmat warnings on tankers carrying hazardous materials–are placed on the outside of the building, alerting first responders. Firefighters and others are calling for restrictions on the height and size of these buildings, as well as masonry fire walls between buildings and sprinklers in the void spaces.”
Read more HERE.