Glenn Corbett on Huge Edgewater (NJ) Fire

Fire Engineering Technical Editor Glenn Corbett recently wrote an editorial on the massive fire that destroyed the Avalon at Edgewater apartment complex in New Jersey and the dangers posed by lightweight wood-frame construction.

“Well over four decades ago, the wood-products industry developed a cost-effective, engineered structural beams, specifically lightweight wood floor and roof trusses,” Corbett wrote in an editorial to The Record ( “Under non-fire conditions, these trusses generally have proved to a reliable structural building element. However, under fire conditions, the opposite is true.”

Corbett discussed some of the aspects of this type of construction, the dangers of which are known to the firefighting community. He discussed how this construction allows for rapid fire spread and the use of sprinkler systems in these buildings.

He discussed two possible code-based solutions to the hazards presented by this building construction: a prohibition of wood-frame multiple dwellings, or the use of more comprehensive sprinklers, firewalls, and other fire protection measures in these structures.

“The solutions to the problem are very clear,” Corbett continued. “We cannot lose our focus on this matter as it fades into history for most people. While our elected officials have promised action, it is up the public to hold their feet to the proverbial fire.”

Read the rest of Glenn’s commentary at




No posts to display