Judge reopens Prudential Center after ‘technical’ closure
A city inspector closes the Pru Center for the weekend over an expired certificate of occupancy. The arena has operated under a temporary certificate since opening last October, because the building lacks a smoke evacuation system.
Pru Center management has been compensating for the lack of the system — which sucks the smoke out of the stairwells in the event of a fire — by employing a dozen or so “fire watchers” during events.
A state judge reinstated a temporary certificate of occupancy that has allowed the Prudential Center to reopen after it was closed early Friday by a Newark construction code official.
The 18,000-seat home of the New Jersey Devils hockey team was ordered shuttered after the temporary certificate of occupancy expired at midnight. The completion of a smoke evacuation system to help clear the stairwells in the event of a fire is the subject of the dispute.
“It’s safe. It’s just technicalities, paperwork, bureaucracy and miscommunication,” Devils co-owner Michael Gilfillan said Friday afternoon as he was leaving negotiations between the city and the Devils management.