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New Fire Code Takes Effect 9 Months After Fire Destroys Edgewater, NJ Apartment Complex

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- After a fire destroyed a massive apartment complex in Edgewater, N.J., there were calls for major changes to state regulations to avoid a repeat.

A revised code takes effect Monday, but some wonder if it's enough.

Photos: Edgewater, NJ Apartment Complex Fire

Glenn Corbett, spokesman for the Bergen County Fire Chiefs Association, said massive light weight, wood frame complexes like the one destroyed at Avalon Edgewater on January 22, spell trouble for firefighters, WCBS880's Jim Smith reported.

"These are well beyond the capability of any fire department in New Jersey to adequately deal with them," Corbett said.

After the massive blaze, they've been lobbying the state for changes such as adding more sprinklers and limiting building sizes. However, Corbett says they've come up empty in the new fire code and it will not have any provisions for improving the fire safety, Smith reported.

The state says its bound by law to not exceed national standards, but Assemblyman John Wisniewski doesn't buy it, Smith reported.

"The residents in New Jersey do not want to hear that its government cannot make them safer," Wisniewski said.

In all, 240 units were destroyed, permanently displacing about 500 residents, Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland said.

Revised Fire Code Enough?

An additional 520 residents from other Avalon buildings were also displaced, McPartland said.

class action lawsuit was filed in January on behalf of all residents. The suit alleges that Avalon's property managers initially told residents there was a "minor fire" in the complex nearly two hours after the fire first started.

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