Edgewater, New Jersey, Adopts Resolution in Support of Stronger Building Codes

Joins growing collection of cities, towns and counties in calling for timely passage of statewide legislation.

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More than three years after a massive fire nearly completely destroyed an apartment complex and displaced more than 1000 residents in Edgewater, New Jersey, – the second such time the complex burned in 15 years – the city of Edgewater endorsed statewide efforts to prevent such devastation from happening again.  In a vote Monday night, the Edgewater City Council and Mayor Michael McPartland unanimously adopted a resolution in support of Assembly Bill 135 and Senate Bill 1261, which amends New Jersey’s construction code for fire safety reasons, and provides an added level of protection for firefighters and residents alike. The two Edgewater fires are considered among the worst in the history of Bergen County.

The decision to endorse the legislation comes on the heels of similarly adopted measures in the New Jersey counties of Gloucester, Hudson, Camden, Middlesex, Mercer, and Essex, along with Wall Township.

“These two fires have burned into our memory just how devastating blazes in buildings that are constructed with combustible materials can be,” says Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland. “This legislation, if it is passed, will go a long way in securing the homes in Edgewater and throughout New Jersey.”

The bills call for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13, measuring the number of stories from the grade plane, using noncombustible materials for construction, and installing a fire barrier with a fire resistance rating of at least two hours that extends from the foundation to the roof.

A September 2016 poll of 400 registered voters in New Jersey found respondents very supportive of the state making changes to building codes following the devastating Edgewater apartment complex fire in January 2015.

“No one should be forced to contend with the lasting impact of losing their home or worse in what amounts to a preventable tragedy,” says Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation’s building codes. “The Edgewater fire in 2015 displaced 1000 people, all of whom were forced to find other living arrangements, in some cases permanently. This legislation would go a long way in limiting the damage of future fires.”

Local New Jersey coalition members of Build with Strength include: The New Jersey State Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association, The Professional Association of Fire Fighters in New Jersey, the New Jersey State Association of County Fire Marshals, the Brigantine Beach Fire Company; the Bricklayers and Allied Crafts – New Jersey, and the Fire Departments of Burlington County and West Orange.

Learn more at www.buildwithstrength.com.


 


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