‘Intense' Fire Damages Apartment Complex in Maplewood: Authorities

A six-alarm fire destroyed most of an apartment complex Saturday that was under construction in New Jersey, authorities said.

The fire in Maplewood, which destroyed more than 200 units, comes two years after another fire demolished a luxury apartment complex built by the same construction company in Edgewater. 

"Lightning doesn't strike twice so that's a little concerning, isn't it?" said resident Peter Sampson, of Maplewood.

The company, AvalonBay, said it has been working closely with city officials on fire safety and the two fires had different circumstances. Saturday's blaze happened while the building was under construction and before all of the safeguards were complete. The Edgewood fire began during maintenance. 

The fire chief says his department had been working with AvalonBay on safety features, such as sprinkler systems, in the Maplewood bilding. 

The completed units weren't damaged in the fire, but units still under construction were destroyed. People had already signed leases and planned to move in six weeks from now. 

AvalonBay said it is deciding what will happen for people who have signed leases and will contact them soon. 

The fire started at around 1 a.m. and spread to almost an entire block of the complex. More than 100 firefighters were called to help extinguish blaze, News 12 New Jersey reported.

"The fire was intense," Maplewood Mayor Victor Deluca said. 

He added that freezing temperatures brought extra challenges.

"The place is full of ice and we have to get down there and open up that area so the inspectors can get in," Deluca said.

One firefighter was injured after he slipped and fell on the ice, Maplewood Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt said. He added that the cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Top Tri-State News Photos

Two years ago, a massive inferno in Edgewater left 500 people homeless. No one was seriously injured, but Avalon was criticized for using cheap, flammable construction materials that reduced most of the complex to ashes. 

Contact Us