EDGEWATER, N.J. — A key safety feature of a plan to rebuild a 240-unit apartment complex gutted by a massive blaze last year came under criticism during a presentation by the developer in northern New Jersey.

AvalonBay is proposing to rebuild the Edgewater structure on roughly the same footprint of the old building, and architect Stuart Lachs appeared Wednesday night before the borough’s zoning board on behalf of the company, The Record reported (http://bit.ly/2clgDp9 ).

Board members criticized the company’s plan to use hollow cinderblocks instead of solid ones in the building’s firewalls. Hollow cinderblocks are more than is required by the state’s building code, but board members questioned why they didn’t opt for solid blocks.

“If you’re going to go that far, why wouldn’t you build a block and make it that much more of a fire separation?” board member Robert Corcoran asked.

Lachs said they selected what they thought were appropriate measures in consultation with borough officials.

Steve Curry, the borough’s fire inspector, said the proposal met most of the requests made by the borough relating to fire safety, including storing fire ladders in the building’s courtyards and installing noncombustible material next to the firewalls on the outside of the building.

AvalonBay representatives said they would continue to discuss other requests made by the borough, including increasing the number of fire department connections at the complex.

The original building was destroyed by a blaze that investigators say was started by an unlicensed plumber using a torch to repair a pipe.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com