By Alexa Gonzales
A devastating fire destroyed an apartment complex in Edgewater, NJ on Wednesday evening. No fatalities or serious injuries were reported, but over 1,000 residents are now without homes.
The fire began at 4:22 pm on Wednesday at the upscale Avalon apartment complex in Edgewater and was still smoldering on Thursday morning.
Governor Christie and local officials confirmed Thursday evening that maintenance workers who were on the first floor of the apartment building accidentally sparked the fire with a blowtorch while doing plumbing work. The workers called the building’s supervisor first, delaying a call to 911.
250 firefighters from 35 towns responded to the fire, rescuing 3 people from the building. North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Chief Frank Montagne said it was the “biggest fire that many of the company’s members had ever seen.”
The fire destroyed 240 out of the apartment complex’s 408 units, while 168 units are unharmed. 500 residents are now permanently without homes and 520 people from nearby homes have evacuated the area.
These victims are currently staying at local hotels and are receiving aid from places like the Edgewater Community Center, which is offering shelter to the displaced residents.
Governor Christie spoke to the county in a press conference outside of the Edgewater Community Center on Thursday, offering words of support and hope to the town and the victims.
“People are concerned they’ll be forgotten,” Christie stated. “That’s why I’m here, to make sure people know that we won’t forget.”