N.J. Law Targets Mattress Fires

August 22, 2007

Mattresses and box springs sold in New Jersey will have to meet new fire safety standards under legislation signed into law by Gov. Jon S. Corzine.

The law, which requires that the bedding be manufactured to withstand an open flame for 30 minutes before catching fire, takes effect in a year.

The legislation was initially introduced by Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, after 14-month-old Matthew Albrecht died on Feb. 25, 2000, from a mattress fire in Roxbury. The fire started when a spark from an electrical outlet caused a mattress to ignite.

Under the law, hotels with sprinkler systems would have two years to obtain mattresses that meet the standard. Stores with mattresses in stock that fail to meet the standard when the law takes effect will be allowed to sell those items.

According to the United States Fire Administration, mattress and bedding fires account for about 21,000 fires, 2,200 injuries and 380 deaths each year

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