More than 40 people from 11 families were displaced after an explosive fire ripped through a three-story home that contained several apartments and then spread to the building next door around midnight on April 23 in Jersey City. Two firefighters received minor burns while rescuing residents and battling the blaze on Bergen Avenue. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but many pets perished in the flames.
Jersey City Fire Chief Steven McGill noted in the Jersey Journal that “fire spread throughout the building very rapidly and as soon as we got in there, there’s not enough water you could put on there to put it out fast.” The first building was damaged so badly it will have to be demolished leaving those residents homeless. Although smoke detectors were working in the building, there was no Fire Sprinkler System. Unfortunately for these residents, single-family and multi-family homes in New Jersey are not required to install fire sprinklers systems, which can reduce the risk of dying in a fire by 80% and the extent of property damage by 70%.
In this instance, having a fire sprinkler system could have changed the outcome entirely: The fire could have been detected within minutes and dampened at the source. The spread of the fire would have been controlled by multiple sprinkler heads and may not have had the opportunity to affect the building next door. Firefighters would have had more time and water to put the blaze out completely. Pets and belongings could have been saved. The damage to the building might not have required demolition, leaving families only temporarily displaced and not homeless.
The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB) is dedicated to increasing awareness of fire safety and prevention. We encourage people to learn about the benefits of fire sprinklers and practice simple safety tips that can prevent fires and help families identify safe escape routes if a fire breaks out.
Some fire safety resources include: www.nfpa.org, www.saveandprotect.org, www.usfa.fema.gov, www.redcross.org. Fire sprinkler resources: www.njfsab.org, www.nfsa.org.
Fire doesn’t discriminate. It can start anytime, anywhere and spread within minutes as was evident by this Jersey City blaze. Take a few minutes to learn about fire safety and prevention, and become proactive in helping to protect yourself, your family and your home
New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board