Essex County News

12 Fire Departments Provide Mutual Aid for Major Fire in Maplewood

Early morning fire at the Avalon apartments in Maplewood. Credits: Carl Patterson
Early morning fire at the Avalon apartments in Maplewood. Credits: Carl Patterson
L to R: Frank McGehee, Maplewood Township Committee, Michael Dingelstedt, Maplewood Fire Chief, Mayor Vic De Luca, and India Larrier, Maplewood Township Commitee, at press conference Sat. morning.
L to R: Maplewood Mayor Vic Deluca, Michael Dingelstedt, Maplewood Fire Chief, and India Larrier, Maplewood Township Commitee, at press conference Sat. morning.
Credits: Carl Patterson
Credits: Carl Patterson
Avalon construction in November, 2016.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A major fire erupted early Saturday morning at the Avalon apartment complex located at 200 Boyden Ave. in Maplewood. Overnight, approximately 130 firefighters responded to the scene, with fire companies from Livingston, West Orange, Fairfield, South Orange, Millburn, Montclair, Bloomfield, Union, Jersey City, East Orange, Nutley and Belleville providing mutual aid.

The fire started at about 1:30 a.m., and was under control by about 6 a.m., according to Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca. There was extensive mutual aid at the scene of the fire.

The fire resulted in the full collapse of the left side of one of the Avalon apartment buildings, which fell on to the NJ Transit parking garage, according to the Breaking News Network (BNN). 

Sign Up for E-News

The Avalon apartment complex consists of three buildings - one building where construction has been completed, and two buildings which are still under construction.

Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca and Maplewood Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt held a press conference at 8 a.m. at the fire station on Boyden Ave. De Lua stated that the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

The fire destroyed the unfinished portion of the Avalon apartment complex. The front building, where construction was completed, appears to have survived the fire, but town officials stated that the building will need to be inspected to confirm it's structurally sound.

Dingelstedt stated that when the first unit from the fire department arrived on the scene at about 1:30 a.m., the building was "heavily engulfed," and he issued a third alarm, which requests three-times the usual amount of mutual aid.

At the press conference De Luca and Dingelstedt both commented that the Maplewood Avalon construction was built using a higher fire safety standard, including more sprinklers, than the Avalon project in Edgewater which had a major fire January of 2015 which destroyed 240 of the 408 units, and displaced over 1,000 people - 500 who were living in the apartments and another 500 from nearby homes which were affected by the fire.

The fire was under control by around 6 a.m., but the fire department was still continuing to pump water as of 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. At 10 a.m. ,fire companies were still "hitting hot spots and hidden pockets of fire under collapsed sections," with one tower ladder in operation, according to BNN. 

The nearby Wawa on Springfield Ave. has been providing free coffee to all firefighters at the scene of the fire.

There was one injury reported, a firefighter from Maplewood slipped and fell on ice, and went to the hospital for evaluation.

Essex County investigators were at the scene of the fire early Saturday morning, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Avalon had no statement as of 10 a.m. on Saturday, with a company spokesperson stating that they had no comment until they are granted accesses to the site by fire and Essex County officials and are able to examine and assess the situation.

The Avalon apartments in Maplewood are not yet occupied. An Open House was scheduled for Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, according to the Avalon website. Apartments are priced started at $1,785 for a studio, $1,880 for a one-bedroom, and $2,175 for a two-bedroom, according to the Avalon website. 

Tenants were scheduled to begin moving into the complex in about five weeks, and De Luca suggested that anyone who was planning to occupy an apartment in the complex should contact Avalon directly for an update.

According to the Maplewood Township website, the development had 235 market-rate rental units with an attached multi-level parking garage for residents.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Details Emerge about Nutley Resident's Rally to Add Armed Guards to Public Schools

March 19, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Details of the 'Rally to Protect Our Children,' a citizen organized effort to add armed guards to all Nutley Public Schools are emerging. The rally will take place at the same time as the '#NeverAgain March for Our Lives' taking place in cities across the country. 

TAPinto Nutley first broke the news of the rally March 13 in a report about ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

March 18, 2018

March 12, 2018 – March 18, 2018

On March 14, 2018 at 11:41 a.m., Ptl. Christopher Heck stopped a vehicle after observing that the operator was not wearing a seatbelt. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of a 23 year old female passenger from Woodland Park for possession of marijuana. She was processed and released with a summons to appear in municipal court.

On March 14, 2018 ...

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

March 19, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other

Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Financial Seminar

Business & Finance

Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Understanding Liver Disease

Health & Wellness

LEGO Drive Benefiting Kids with Cancer

March 16, 2018

A good friend of mine lost his son to cancer at age 10 a few years back. His name was Paul Jimenez aka "Paulie". Since his loss, the family has started a foundation called "Paulie Strong" to help raise awareness and donations for those in need. This March, they are holding a LEGO drive for children with cancer. 

All LEGO sets collected will be donated to the Pediatrics ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...