Speaker Prieto to Pursue Legislation to Strengthen Multi-Family Building Standards in Wake of Edgewater Fire

(SECAUCUS) – Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced Friday that he is pursuing legislation to address building codes and standards in multi-family dwellings with a focus on strengthening fire safety regulations.
Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen), who is a construction code official by trade and has deep knowledge of building practices and safety, will be working with the Department of Community Affairs to craft legislation that will address issues raised by the recent fire in Edgewater, which has left more than 500 tenants displaced after their building was destroyed.
Edgewater is a part of the 32nd legislative District that the Speaker represents, and – along with district-mates Sen. Nicholas Sacco and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez – he has dispatched staff to work with officials in the borough to provide assistance with relocation, insurance, recovering lost documents and other issues.
“Thank God this devastating fire did not result in any fatalities, but it has shattered the lives of hundreds of people and reports about how the building’s materials and design may have contributed to the spread of the fire are deeply troubling,” Prieto said. “Builders and developers must be held to strict safety standards to protect residents and prevent horrible events like this from happening. I am now in the process of thoroughly reviewing the relevant building codes to find areas that may need to be strengthened.”
According to published reports, the fire at the Avalon building in Edgewater was started accidentally by a maintenance crew, but the structure’s materials and composition may have hastened the spread of flames. The building used lightweight wood construction and roof trusses that often limit the effectiveness of fire suppression methods, and its sprinkler system was installed only inside apartments — not in hallways or roof trusses.