2 bills aimed at safer construction in New Jersey after devastating Edgewater apartment fire

Friday, April 7, 2017
2 bills aimed at safer construction in NJ after devastating Edgewater apartment fire
AJ Ross has the latest details.

EDGEWATER, New Jersey (WABC) -- Following a devastating apartment complex fire in Edgewater more than two years ago, New Jersey lawmakers are working to make future construction safer.

Two bills have been introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly that are aimed at improving fire safety and building construction codes.

The proposed legislation would increase sprinklers in concealed combustible spaces and limit the use of lightweight wood construction.

"Without this, as you saw here in Edgewater, there is no chance," Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said. "So that's why it's so important to get this legislation moving quickly."

The January 2005 fire left hundreds of people at the Avalon apartment complex homeless. Officials said the fire spread so quickly and was virtually unstoppable because the building was made of lightweight materials with no firewalls.

Photos: Massive fire tears through Edgewater apartment building

However, with a recent six-alarm blaze at another AvalonBay property in Maplewood back in February, some people are still questioning if these changes will be enough.

As reconstruction continues at the Avalon in Edgewater, where they are already implementing some of the proposed changes, lawmakers hope the new bills will receive approval by the end of May.

Watch video showing the devastation in the 2015 fire:

Produced and edited by Dennis Hogan

"It's been a long time coming," Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland said. "I think it's something that should be done I think it makes common sense."

Click here for our previous coverage of the massive fire.