North Jersey fire prompts changes in Princeton apartment construction plan

The fire that destroyed an apartment complex in the North Jersey town of Edgewater last month, displacing 400 residents, is raising concern about the planned construction of other buildings throughout the state.

 

Officials are concerned that the type of frame construction that allowed the fire to spread in the AvalonBay complex will be used in apartment units the company plans to build in Wayne and Princeton.

AvalonBay has agreed to add more sprinklers and install masonry firewalls at its project in Princeton, said Mayor Liz Lempert.

“Even though AvalonBay is agreeing to do this voluntarily, I do think it’s important at a state level that these become incorporated into the code and become requirements,” she said.

State Assemblyman Scott Rumana has introduced legislation for a moratorium on using light-frame construction for multiple-unit dwellings until the state determines that the building method is safe.

Princeton is also considering a local law that would require frequent inspections to maintain the integrity of firewalls, Lempert said.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.