Wednesday’s massive inferno at a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey was a bit of deja vu for some of the firefighters battling the blaze.
Avalon on the Hudson, the Edgewater complex that was devastated by flames Wednesday and Thursday, was the scene of another massive blaze nearly 15 years before, when the complex was under construction.
The fire leveled the construction site on Aug. 30, 2000 and forced the evacuations of dozens of nearby homes and businesses, including a nearby nursing home. Nine homes were destroyed in the fire and several others were damaged.
Dennis Tibus was a volunteer firefighter for Edgewater back then and when he heard about Wednesday night's blaze thought, "Here we go again."
Tibus said his brother-in-law lost his home in the 2000 fire. He said the flames spread quickly through the light lumber used to build the first structure in the same way it did in Wednesday’s massive inferno.
The cause of the blaze in 2000 was never determined, but investigators ruled out arson.
Afterward, the complex was rebuilt, featuring one-, two and three-bedroom units designed to appeal to New York City commuters. It stood, without much incident until Wednesday's fire, which destroyed 240 of the 408 units at the complex.
The fire in 2000 didn't have the same human impact as Wednesday’s fire, which permanently displaced about 500 residents and temporarily forced another 520 out of surrounding buildings. No one was killed in either fire.
Authorities announced Thursday the fire was accidental, sparked by a plumbing repair.