Madison, NJ News - At the July 10, 2017 Madison Borough Council meeting, Republican candidate for Borough Council Denis Schreiber asked an important question: What was the outcome of the investigation into the February 19th three alarm fire at 45 Main Street?
It was a good question. Apart from reporting news of the fire immediately afterwards, there has been no information reported in committee reports at Borough Council in the nearly five months following the fire. Rumors abounded that as many as 40 people or more were living in the four apartments in the buildings upper levels.
The Mayor, supported by a more detailed oral report from Borough Administrator Ray Codey in response to Schreiber's question, confirmed that there had been evidence of overcrowding in those apartments (a phenomenon known as "stacking"), but that Borough government was powerless to spot it absent a police or fire call. Codey explained that municipalities do not have the right to do spot inspections of private property without permission of the property owner.
What do you think? Fortunately, no one died, and the property damage was limited to 45 Main Street. But next time, it could be different. It seems as though there is a serious gap in the Borough's efforts to assure public safety via prevention in these circumstances.