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New Jersey Apartment Fire Destroys Luxury Complex; Hundreds Homeless

Image: New Jersey Apartment Fire Destroys Luxury Complex; Hundreds Homeless
Smoke is seen billowing from a multi-alarm fire burning an apartment complex in Edgewater, New Jersey. (Jason Szenes/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 12:23 PM

A massive New Jersey apartment fire that started Wednesday afternoon left hundreds homeless and thousands in the surrounding area without electricity as the blaze destroyed the huge, 408-unit complex.

The fire at the Avalon at Edgewater complex along the Hudson River billowed large black clouds of smoke into the air as firefighters battled the blaze late into the night Wednesday, The New York Times reported. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, and the flames were mostly contained early Thursday morning.

Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland told The Times that a few firefighters sustained minor injuries. He also declared a local state of emergency and closed local schools on Thursday.

Edmund Rhoads — of AvalonBay Communities, the company that owns the apartment complex — told The Times that roughly 400 of the residents were taken to a nearby school when the fire started around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said others were relocated to an Edgewater community center where they stayed the night.

One of the complex's most well-known residents, New York Yankees' radio play-by-play announcer John Sterling, told Newsday that he fears he may have lost everything in the blaze.

"There are two sides to the building, and unfortunately for me the fire is on my side," Sterling said late Wednesday. "I would expect there would be nothing left."

Sterling said he was more worried about his immediate needs like clothing than all the baseball memorabilia he likely lost in the massive fire.

"I'm not a memorabilia person, so that doesn't bother me," he said. "Even my kids' pictures; I'll get other pictures. You can say, well there's that picture of you and [Bill] Clinton and you and [George] Bush and [Rudy] Giuliani, but that's not a big thing to me. I would like to have my clothes and my passport and my bags. But what are you going to do?"

The Bergen Record reported that the apartment complex was the site of another apartment fire nearly 15 years ago. On Aug. 20, 2000, the $75 million Avalon River Mews was under construction when it caught fire and burned down, marking one of the largest blazes in the history of Bergen County. Nine homes around the complex were also destroyed in that fire.

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A massive New Jersey apartment fire that started Wednesday afternoon left hundreds homeless and thousands in the surrounding area without electricity as the blaze destroyed the huge, 408-unit complex.
new jersey, apartment, fire
372
2015-23-22
Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 12:23 PM
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