A fire that destroyed a luxury apartment complex in Edgewater in January is now the subject of an investigation and a lawsuit. The fire, which occurred on January 22 at Avalon on the Hudson left 1,000 New Jersey residents homeless and also took the lives of a number of pets.
The Edgewater police chief stated that maintenance workers at the complex were responsible for accidentally starting the fire.
More than one month after the fire, demolition has begun on the charred building. Efforts by residents to collect belongings in the rubble prior to demolition were rebuked by AvalonBay Communities, Inc., the real estate firm that operated the building. Representatives of the company sent an email to residents, reminding them the building had been deemed unsafe by local officials. Access to the site was limited to demolition company personnel.
A review of the fire has also been launched by the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ). The organization created a task force to study issues associated with lightweight wood-framed buildings like Avalon on the Hudson and make recommendations to improve the safety of such buildings. Focus will be on limiting fire damage and providing additional time for residents to safely exit a burning building.
The Avalon fire began at 4:30 p.m. on January 22 and quickly spread throughout the building. Although firefighters initially thought they had the blaze under control, flames quickly spread to other areas of the building. Residents were evacuated and many congregated at an emergency shelter set up at an area community center. The rapid spread of the blaze has been attributed to the lightweight wood frame of the building that resulted in quicker collapse of the structure.
Class action lawsuit filed against AvalonBay
Nj.com also reports that hundreds of the residents of Avalon on the Hudson have now filed a lawsuit against AvalonBay, alleging the company did not do enough to keep residents of the building safe. Among the allegations include the fact that maintenance workers did not call 911 until 15 minutes after the blaze started and failure by officials of the company to accurately alert residents about the severity of the blaze. Plaintiffs also cited the lightweight construction of the building, which firefighters attributed in part to the severity of the fire.
This is not the first fire for this particular building complex. In 2000, when the project was under construction, a massive blaze destroyed all four buildings as well as nine neighboring homes. A jury found the company’s negligence contributed to the fire, and AvalonBay paid $6 million in settlements to homeowners.
New Jersey fire attorney
A fire can have a significant impact on residents, resulting in property damage, personal injury and even death. If the fire could have easily been prevented or minimized, the consequences are that much more tragic. If you have experienced loss of property or injury due to a fire, you may be eligible for monetary damages for your injuries, pain and suffering and lost belongings. At Eisbrouch Marsh, LLC, we help victims of negligence get their lives back on track and secure the compensation to which they are rightfully entitled.
- Nj.com, Minor Fie at Avalon Homes in Wood-Ridge, No One Hurt, http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2015/03/minor_fire_at_avalon_homes_in_wood-ridge_no_one_hu.html
- Real Estate Weekly, Architects Examine Wood-Framed Construction Following Avalon Blaze, http://rew-online.com/2015/04/01/architects-examine-wood-framed-construction-following-avalon-blaze/
- Northjersey.com, One Month after Fire at Avalon at Edgewater, Demolition Begins, http://www.northjersey.com/community-news/one-month-after-fire-demolition-begins-1.1288120
- Nj.com, Edgewater Tenants File Class Action Lawsuit against AvalonBay in Wake of Devastating Fire, http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2015/01/edgewater_tenants_file_class_action_lawsuit_agains.html