On Saturday, April 7, a fatal fire was sparked in a Trump Tower apartment. Unfortunately, the unit had no working smoke alarms and the older building lacked a sprinkler system on the upper-level residential floors.
67-year-old Todd Brassner was killed, and six firefighters injured, during the fire in the 50th floor high rise. Brassner was an art dealer with health problems, who ironically had been trying to move out of his apartment since security and activity at the building increased in 2016 when Trump became president.
According to a FDNY source, a building-wide alarm system in Trump Tower is what alerted the fire department of the blaze. The alarm system, which is commonly used in large buildings, was able to notify the FDNY of the fire’s location down to what floor it was on. However, this building-wide alarm is not audible throughout the entire tower, in order to prevent a mass evacuation that could block the staircases and actually delay firefighters from getting to the source of the blaze.
Firefighters were able to contain the flames fairly quickly, preventing the fire from spreading beyond the 50th floor of the 58-story Fifth Avenue building. When in New York City, President Donald Trump resides in the building’s penthouse. Luckily, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that no one from the Trump family was present in the tower at the time of the fire.
President Trump did post a tweet Saturday evening, following the blaze, which said, “Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!”
According to CNN, “Separately, NYC Department of Buildings Senior Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Rudansky said that records indicate that there have been no permit applications for sprinkler installation in the penthouse level of Trump Tower, where Trump resides. When the President is in the building, an ‘alarm assignment team’ is present, the FDNY source said. It includes FDNY members assigned to the building that would investigate any report of fire to dispatch. Records and permits issued in October 1999 indicate that Trump World Plaza, another Trump property located across from the United Nations, has an automatic sprinkler system. Trump was quoted by the New York Times in 1999 saying sprinklers would be installed in the Trump World Plaza building after new legislation was passed in NYC requiring new residential construction over four dwellings to have sprinklers installed.”
2015 bankruptcy documents value Brassner’s apartment at $2.5 million. The documents said that the apartment contained hundreds of guitars and ukuleles, in addition to an extensive collection of expensive art work, which included a portrait of Brassner done by Andy Warhol in 1975.
The NYPD said that when firefighters dragged Brassner out of the fire he was unconscious and unresponsive. He died later in the hospital. Conroy said that six firefighters were also injured in the blaze and are all expected to recover.
On Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said, “We send our prayers and deepest condolences to Mr. Brassner’s family and loved ones.”
By Rachel Shapiro