New Jersey Officials Call For Housing Safety After Edgewater Blaze

Fire officials in New Jersey met Sunday afternoon at the Avalon apartment complex in Edgewater, New Jersey to call for stricter safety laws and building codes seven months after a five-alarm fire destroyed over half of the structure, displacing 500 residents. Some of the changes officials are looking to make are for builders to user sturdier materials and for builidngs with multiple dwellings to have firewalls and enhanced sprinkler systems throughout, including in attic spaces. The Firefighters association also wants to limit wood framing to 3 stories and 20,000 square feet per floor. Avalon Bay, which owns the apartment complex, responded to the winter blaze by planning on upgrading sprinkler systems in future properties currently under construction. State officials are also putting forth recommendations in the form of legislation that have yet to pass. Firefighter representatives also stated in part that while they appreciate Avalon’s upgrades there is still need for concern if laws are not passed. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is reviewing a bill that would also require smaller single-family homes to have a sprinkler system which was vetoed by Chris Christie earlier this year citing federally mandated construction would be a financial burden for homeowners. Prieto is expected to propose his own bill concerning fire safety codes next month.

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