A Dozen Mega-Wood Condo Unit Buildings Burn Down Out Of Control In Major Cities This Year


▶ BREAKING: Edgewater Fire OUT OF CONTROL, Massive Evacuation In New Jersey – YouTube: over and over again, I see in the news these huge 200-2000 apartment building complexes built out of WOOD burning in huge infernos that even the best fire departments can’t stop at all until these cheap built death traps burn to the ground.  Happened yet again in New Jersey near where my daughter and grandchild live and shop.

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Street view of burned down condo complex showing the ground floor is an open space garage that brought in lots of oxygen to the fires thanks to huge windows and the nature of the flimsy ‘suburban house of sticks’ construction of the main structure with plastic siding that melts in fires.


More than 1,000 homeless after horrific Edgewater fire, officials say | NJ.com


When Edgewater firefighters arrived on scene, sprinklers were activated and spraying water throughout the massive luxury complex, Edgewater Fire Chief Tom Jacobson said.


He attributed the rapid pace of the inferno, which was first spotted on the first floor, to “lightweight” wood construction with a truss-style of roof.


“If it was made out of concrete and cinder block, we wouldn’t have this sort of problem,” he said.


Absolutely they would not burn if built properly.  But that costs money!  To save money, developers make building codes written by Victorians much weaker.  The building that exploded rapidly into an out of control fire in the middle of the day within minutes of spotting the smoke is a classic death trap.


The Victorians had a lot of experience with this such as the great Chicago fire, for example.  In NYC and the New Jersey cities across the Hudson had strict building codes requiring brick walls between all multi-story connected buildings such as the famous brownstones.  I rebuilt brownstones and owned one of these and family still own brownstone apartments.


They are quite fire proof if you don’t destroy the mechanicals totally.  Even if a fire happens, it rarely spreads far.  But these laws were changed!  Developers falsely claimed that mere sheetrock, if doubled, would be the same as a six inch+ thick brick wall!  It isn’t.  Not even slightly.


Apartment Complex Fire Accidentally Caused by Workers – ABC News: many of these fires happen due to workers many of whom are illegal aliens and poor quality, too.  So we have them lighting housing on fire as they toil.  This is COMMON not rare.


“A plumbing repair ignited a fire in the wall which then spread through the building,” he said. “It was accidental, there was nothing suspicious about it, and we have complete verification and there’s no doubt about it. It was just a tragic accident.”


Good lord.  I have done plumbing and worked with professional plumbers and guess what?  We know that using a blowtorch next to wood causes smoldering fires in walls which is why we do various things to prevent this from happening.  Hand off these tools to someone who barely speaks English and you get stupid things happening.


Lightweight construction helped blaze swiftly consume Edgewater complex, officials say | NJ.com


In a statement released Thursday afternoon, AvalonBay Communities, which owned the complex, said it had been built “in accordance with the fire and safety codes applicable at the time.”


“The purpose of those codes is not to prevent the building from burning down, but rather to ensure that there is sufficient time and opportunity for all occupants to exit safely in the event of a fire,” the company wrote. “We are grateful that everyone at Avalon at Edgewater was able to leave the building and get to safety without serious injury.”


They are SO LUCKY.  If this bad plumbing job on a fire trap wood mega-structure smoldered much of the night before igniting, 10-100 people would have burned to death.  Since few were home, they had time to either flee with few to no belongings or came home from work to see that they were now hopelessly homeless.


Just how common these fires are is easy to see, I watch the news and it took me minutes to Google up some recent near-identical fires, nearly all of these listed below were caused by workers doing something really stupid:  Just one month ago, this fire ate up a giant wooden condo unit complex in Lost Angeles: 

A mere three months ago, a very similar wooden multi-apartment complex caught fire very badly in a next door neighborhood:  ▶ Cliffside Park, NJ Multi Alarm 11/18/14 – YouTube

Last March in Houston, a nearly identical wooden mass condo housing construction became a massive fire:

Also, last March in San Francisco, a place that burns during earthquakes:

One year ago, again, a fire: ▶ Huge apartment fire in New Westminster, BC – w/building collapse – YouTube

July, 2013, in Canada, a similar wooden apartment complex burns down the exact same out of control way, very fast, barely time to flee:

Watch all the videos: it is obvious fire fighters cannot put these fires out.  Once they start, the fire rages uncontrolled.  The firemen were called within a few minutes of smoke being detected in New Jersey and all they could do was helplessly pour water on the fire and see the water evaporate before it touched any flames.  All the water dumped during the worst part of the fire had zero effect.


Because massive mega-wooden structures burn immensely hotly and are nearly impossible to stop once they start, they should be OUTLAWED and torn down.  They are death traps.  Period.  The one that burned so hot in New Jersey had sprinklers which were USELESS.  Even if all of the sprinklers worked, they didn’t quench any flames at all.  So that can’t be used as an excuse to allow these stupid death traps to be built.  No way in hell. Hot hell.


And no Victorian government would allow these sorts of stupid buildings to be erected in NYC or NJ, after 1895.  All the wood multistory attached houses predate that time period.


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16 responses to “A Dozen Mega-Wood Condo Unit Buildings Burn Down Out Of Control In Major Cities This Year

  1. vengeur

    I bet that isn’t even real brick on the façade, just fake brick on plyboard.

  2. emsnews

    Very likely. Ticky tacking big time.

  3. e sutton

    The architectural style of the building is called a dingbat because its parking is on the ground level. I pulled this comment off of the apartment site at Yelp:

    This complex became an epic inferno that’s completely destroyed everything and left 400 people/150 families homeless, staff without jobs, half the city without power, and they even had to shut public schools the day after.

    This Hell on earth all thanks to Avalon Bay’s poor quality construction when this was built with slapdash materials for a quick buck by greedy developers. The first one even burned down so they rebuilt it- obviously no better! Insane. Owners of AvalonBay should be arrested or at minimum sued out of the business. They must be held them accountable.

    This NBC news article was just posted (day after the fire) and mentions the developers previous negligence:

    “More than 14 years ago, a fire started at the same location where a five-story condominium complex was under construction and destroyed nine homes and damaged several others. The Aug. 30, 2000, fire forced the evacuation of dozens of nearby residents, including patients at a nearby nursing home. The cause was never determined, although investigators ruled out arson.

    In a civil lawsuit, a jury found that negligence by the developer of the Avalon River Mews contributed to the 2000 blaze. AvalonBay Communities, a Virginia-based developer.”

    I saw their other apt complex ‘Avalon Cove’ built in Jersey City years back and I with other locals scoffed at how poorly the materials were and construction was. Since then I’ve come to known tenants (friends) who lived there (all but one moved out who is stuck in a lease) and all complained/s about it for various reasons- not minor things either- read the many (Google/yelp/apartment ratings.com/nj/JC, etc) reviews carefully, they’re truthful. Personally I’ve always thought these were cheap faux-luxury claptraps and unsafe but now it’s proven beyond any doubt.

    My heart goes out to everyone affected by this preventable disaster. The middle of winter too… let’s see if Avalon Bay has the decency to even offer free apts or pay for hotels to house them til they can sort out another living situation. As yet they have not even make a public announcement nor offered sympathy for tenants and their affected neighbors.

    Was this review …?

    So Elaine is hardly alone in her disdain for the construction of the building. And these are branded “luxury apartments” – not a low end rental.

  4. Peter C.

    Vancouver BC condos don’t have this problem as they are all so leaky the interior structure is well soaked,thus restricting fires!

  5. Peter C.

    I do seem to remember province of BC relaxing building codes so they can build in wood up to 3 floors now,used to be 2 max.
    Germans always remark on the crappy osb and wood and ask why we don’t build in stone and brick.

  6. emsnews

    This is why the new mayor of Jersey City who isn’t corrupt is so concerned about the fire in Edgewood.

    Scary to see this happen. I have watched NYC burn during the terrifying 1970’s with flames leaping right over the roof in the wind…while lunatics scream and torch even more buildings.

  7. No doubt Avalon Bay will turn out to be an limited liability shell company just in case of this eventuality.

  8. Christian W

    OT 1:

    How bizarre is this?

    When cleaning out the ruins of the Donetsk airport NAF troops saved 16 UAF soldiers who were buried under the rubble, initially there were about 30 of them there, but only 16 survived while rests died waiting for help promised by their command that never came. Each of them had been given a solar-powered player with baptist preaching.


    OT 2:

    CIA psycho admits in interview that the US and Israel are actively stoking Sunni attacks (ISIS) on the Shias.

    “The thing was ideal when IS was advancing on Baghdad because Sunnis were killing Shias. That’s exactly what we need. – Our best hope right now is to get the Sunnis and Shias fighting each other and let them bleed each other white.”

    Getting the Sunnis and Shias to fight each other has been the US (= Israel) plan all along.

    Also the CIA creep is complaining about multiculturalism. Somehow I don’t think he means Europe and the US should send all Jews to Israel…


  9. emsnews

    His brother is a senile toad. Will die soon from overeating and too much booze.

  10. JimmyJ

    Its worse than you think.

    The vast volume of wood used for construction for the past decade is bug killed pine. This wood in many cases comes from dead standing trees and the lignin and cellulose have been altered by fungus and decomposition to a highly combustible form as well as less structurally sound form. This wood is much less able to deflect ( over 50% less) in earthquake, wind or simply under a building’s mass.

    Building codes have not been changed to account for these alterations to the properties of the wood. It is an immense hidden scandal where Canada and US federal, state and provincial Govs and industry are complicit.

  11. JimmyJ

    @Peter C: In Prince George BC we have a brand spanking new showcase 7 story (!!) wood building, built from bug kill pine, and another tall one going up.

  12. emsnews

    My house was built out of mostly timbers I took down and ran in my own mill. Strong as an ox, this house. 100mph winds hit and it doesn’t shake or groan or move.

    More important, I TRIANGULATED all the corners. These interior pieces strengthen the structure. On top of that, I used oak which I cut and milled on my property to make an exterior structure to make it look like a medieval house which has lots and lots of diagonal pieces so it is very, very strong.

  13. emsnews

    All they have to do is require triangular insets on all corners, 2×6 inch walls both interior and exterior and all parts have to have fire proof cement block partitions even in huge houses for one person so fires can travel through everything very fast.

  14. Blissex

    «This Hell on earth all thanks to Avalon Bay’s poor quality construction when this was built with slapdash materials for a quick buck by greedy developers. The first one even burned down so they rebuilt it- obviously no better! Insane. Owners of AvalonBay should be arrested or at minimum sued out of the business. They must be held them accountable.»

    In Real America that’s called envy, envy for people who become rich by doing whatever it takes. For Real Americans building regulations are just communist sabotage of the right of winners to become rich.

    Texas is Real American and these are the consequences:

    «Outside of a few cities, there ain’t no zoning in the grand land of Tejas.[ … ] Middle and upper classes know this and pay their premiums to become part of deed restricted communities, while the tired, huddled and poor get close-up views of the cracking stacks. [ … ] Oh yeah, and no building codes either.»

    That’s what Real Americans love.

  15. In New Orleans we have an immense apartment complex called The Saulet. Four-decker apartment buildings — I call ’em four-deckers because they’re made out of WOOD, like the traditional Boston three-decker which has only one or two apartments on each floor, but like all these firetraps that burnt down, have MANY apartments on each floor. I saw the buidings go up, they won’t survive a class three hurricane and they’ll definitely get toxic mold if they ever get wet on the inside. That’s why they were closed for a year after Katrina, so the owners could gut the place and clean out the mold!

    They’re a faux-luxury “Apartment Community” apparently covered with stuccoed styrofoam that traps mold in a damp environment like what we get here on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. They’re owned by Greystar Capital Partners, who appear to be one of several shell LLPs and LLCs, all headquartered at the same place in Charleston, SC.


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