Avalon Edgewater fire by Anthony Quintano

Photo: Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Officials are still investigating the cause of a massive five-alarm fire that razed a 408-unit luxury apartment complex in Edgewater yesterday, leaving about 1,000 people homeless.

The fire started around 4:22 pm at a four-story, 175-unit building in the two-building Avalon at Edgewater complex at 102 Russell Avenue. No one was killed; only several minor injuries were reported. The blaze was mostly under control by Wednesday night, although the ruined apartment building continued to smolder into Thursday morning.

Of the total 408 apartments, 240 were completely destroyed, permanently displacing 500 residents of the complex, officials said Thursday morning at a press conference, NJ.com reported. More than 500 people living near the Avalon were also left homeless after the flames engulfed adjacent properties.

Edgewater Fire Chief Tom Jacobson said that the blaze, first spotted on the first floor, was able to move quickly because of the building’s “lightweight” wood construction with truss-style roof. “If it was made out of concrete and cinder block, we wouldn’t have this sort of problem,” he said at the conference.

The building at the complex was fitted with sprinklers and was up to code, according to officials. Departments from Hudson, Bergen and Union counties battled the fire, while the FDNY and Jersey City’s fire department responded with fireboats, NBC New York reported.

This isn’t the first time a fire has consumed the Avalon apartment buildings; when the development was being built in 2000, an accidental fire sparked at the Avalon construction site, burning the structure to the ground, according to NBC New York.

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