NEW YORK — The 50th-floor apartment in Trump Tower where a man was killed in a raging fire did not have sprinklers — a requirement Donald Trump once fought as a powerful real estate developer.
Todd Brassner, 67, died at a hospital on Saturday after a fire ripped through his apartment in the high-rise, which opened in 1983 at a time when building codes did not require the residential section to have sprinklers.
Subsequent updates required commercial skyscrapers to install sprinklers retroactively, but owners of older residential high-rises are not required to install them unless the building undergoes major renovations.
Some fire safety advocates pushed for a requirement that older apartment buildings be retrofitted with sprinklers when the city passed a law requiring them in new residential high-rises in 1999, but officials in the administration of then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that would be too expensive.
Trump was among the developers who spoke out against the retrofitting as unnecessary and expensive.
He later changed his views, saying they made tenants feel safer. He ultimately decided to spend $3 million to put sprinklers in all 350 units of Trump World Tower near the United Nations, The New York Times reported.
The city’s Department of Buildings on Sunday said Trump Tower did have working hard-wired smoke detectors, and that the fire department was first notified of the blaze by the detectors in the building’s heating and ventilation system. A cause had not yet been determined.
Brassner, who records show bought his unit in 1996, was an art collector who spent time with Andy Warhol, but fell on hard financial times in recent years and went through bankruptcy proceedings.
New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the apartment was “virtually entirely on fire” when firefighters arrived.
No member of the Trump family was in the 664-foot tower on 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.