PHOTOS: 6-Alarm Fire Destroys Unfinished Portion of Maplewood Avalon Bay Project

by Mary Mann
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Updated: we have added a press release from the Maplewood Fire Dept. to the end of this article:

A 6-alarm fire destroyed the unfinished portion of the 235-unit Avalon Bay apartment building overnight on Boyden Avenue near Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.

The fire was so sudden and intense, said Maplewood Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt, that it had gone to three alarms before the first fire truck pulled out of the fire station directly across the street from the complex.

Dinglestedt said the first call came in around 1:30 a.m.

Power was cut to the eastern portion of town, according to Mayor Vic DeLuca. The fire was brought under control by early morning, with firefighters managing to save the finished portion of the building, but Boyden and Springfield avenues remained closed to traffic at 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

Dingelstedt said that the parking garage and remainder of the structure would be evaluated.

The first tenants were expected to begin moving in as early as March, according to DeLuca in December.

One firefighter was injured, slipping on the ice created by the massive amounts of water from the fire houses. He was taken to the hospital.

Avalon Bay has struggled with a reputation for fire-prone projects. Two years ago, an Avalon Bay building in Edgewater burned to the ground in a spectacular blaze that permanently displaced 500 residents. Avalon Bay had assured Maplewood officials that additional precautions would be taken to assure the fire safety of the building at Boyden and Springfield.

Photos of the Maplewood fire can be found online, including on RLS Media:

And from CBS:

The following is a press release from the Maplewood Fire Dept.:

On Saturday, February 4 at 0136 hrs, the Maplewood Fire Department responded to the area of Springfield Ave. and Boyden Ave. for the reported structure fire. Engine 32 pulled out of their quarters, which is housed directly across the street, and encountered heavy fire conditions in a four-story apartment building currently under construction. A second and a third alarms were transmitted, bringing in several mutual aid companies to assist with operations. Several hydrants were utilized to establish water supplies and initial firefighting operations were held to the exterior due to the volume of fire and extreme heat. Interior operations were conducted in the section that was complete to prevent the fire from spreading to that area.

As many as 24 agencies from Essex, Union and Hudson Counties were summoned to the scene consisting of approximately 120 firefighters to bring the fire under control. Due to the vigorous work of all firefighters on the scene, the completed section of the building nearest to Springfield Ave. was able to be saved, leaving just the area that was currently under construction destroyed. The building was being built in three stages and currently had one complete.

There was one firefighter that sustained a non-life threatening injury, was transported to the hospital and released shortly after.

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