Report: Workers blamed for Edgewater fire never called 911

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Jan. 21 blaze destroyed hundreds of apartments in Edgewater, N.J.

EDGEWATER, NJ -- Maintenance workers who sparked a fire that left about 500 residents of an Edgewater, New Jersey apartment complex homeless never called 911 for help, documents showed. reports a review of dispatch logs and 911 tapes revealed no record of any employee alerting authorities as the AvalonBay blaze, which started when two workers tried to fix a leaky pipe, grew into an inferno on Jan. 21 in Edgewater.

The fire destroyed about 500 people's apartments and about 500 more were displaced from an adjacent complex.

Of the six 911 calls made to report the fire, none were made by AvalonBay employees, Edgewater Police Chief William Skidmore said. Dispatch logs obtained through a public records request show that firefighters were first notified of the blaze by the automated fire alert system in the complex.

The delay in reporting the fire was a factor in the destruction, the police chief said. Officials also pointed toward the lightweight wood construction which enabled flames to spread quickly.

Kurt Conway, Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy at Avalon, said "local authorities and the company continue to investigate this incident - while that review is in progress, it is inappropriate to provide details at this time."

Residents have filed three lawsuits.