Trump Tower Fire


In Wake Of Fatal Trump Tower Fire, City Council Considers New Fire Sprinkler Legislation

April 09, 2018 - 8:55 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- In the wake of the fatal fire at Trump Tower on Saturday, the New York City Council considers new fire sprinkler legislation that would enforce requirements for sprinklers in buildings which had previously qualified for certain exemptions.
Fire safety advocates say in the 90's Donald Trump lobbied against high-rise sprinkler retrofits due to the expense.  

In 1999, the city mandated sprinklers in new residential high-rise buildings following two fatal fires in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Legislation was already in the works to help prevent fatal fires before the deadly Trump Tower fire, that's why City Councilmember Robert Carnegie wants sprinklers required in all residential buildings with 4 or more units, 1010 WINS Sonia Rincon reported.

The FDNY was dispatched late Sunday afternoon to the fire at Trump Tower, 721 Fifth Ave. The fire on the 50th floor was raised to three and later four alarms.

Todd Brassner, 67, who was in the apartment, was taken to a hospital and died a short time later, the NYPD said. Brassner was an art dealer who had purchased his unit in 1996 and reportedly hated Trump and was trying to sell his apartment.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the cause of the blaze was not less known, but the apartment where the fire broke out was ``virtually entirely on fire'' when firefighters arrived after 5:30 p.m.

"It was a very difficult fire, as you can imagine," Nigro told reporters outside the building. "The apartment is quite large."

Officials said four firefighters also suffered minor injuries, though published reports indicated that the total number of firefighters injured had been raised to six.

Nigro said units went with the Secret Service to check President Donald Trump's residence. No members of the first family were in the building at the time, Nigro said.

Trump tweeted early Saturday evening that the fire had been extinguished, and reported that it was "very confined."

Fire sprinklers were not required in New York City high-rises when Trump Tower was completed in 1983. Subsequent updates to the building code required commercial skyscrapers to install the sprinklers retroactively, but owners of older residential high-rises are not required to install sprinklers unless the building undergoes major renovations.

Some fire-safety advocates pushed for a requirement that older apartment buildings be retrofitted with sprinklers when New York City passed a law requiring them in new residential highrises in 1999, but officials in the administration of then-mayor Rudy Giuliani said that would be too expensive.

Jerome Rose said he lived in a building that caught fire in 1998 where a woman died. He said he witnessed a call between Trump and the owner of the building where he lived, during which Trump said putting in sprinklers would be too expensive.

“I remember my anger at this phone call – ‘We can’t afford it’ – and this woman died, and the father fell in my arms when I opened the door,” Rose told ABC News. “And I thought: ‘Mr. Trump, what is your daughter’s life worth. Is it worth the price of sprinklers?”

Rose said Trump was a catalyst in fighting against a requirement for sprinklers.

“He was in a sense mobilizing the real estate lobby to fight against sprinklers. He was on the phone saying, ‘We can’t afford sprinklers,’” Rose said. “He and the real estate lobby were fighting against it. It costs a large sum of money to put sprinklers in your high-rise buildings, yes, but what are people’s lives worth?”

Nigro noted that no member of the Trump family was in the 664-foot tower Saturday.

Trump's family has an apartment on the top floors of the 58-story building, but he has spent little time in New York since taking office. The headquarters of the Trump Organization is on the 26th floor.

Nigro said firefighters and Secret Service members checked on the condition of Trump's apartment. About 200 firefighters and emergency medical service workers responded to the fire, he said.

Some residents said they didn't get any notification from building management to evacuate.

Lalitha Masson, a 76-year-old resident, called it "a very, very terrifying experience.''

Masson told The New York Times that she did not receive any announcement about leaving, and that when she called the front desk no one answered.

"When I saw the television, I thought we were finished," said Masson, who lives on the 36th floor with her husband, Narinder, who is 79 and has Parkinson's disease.

She said she started praying because she felt it was the end.

"I called my oldest son and said goodbye to him because the way it looked everything was falling out of the window, and it reminded me of 9/11," Masson said.

Investigators are searching for the cause of the fatal fire.

(Copyright 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)