A tragic fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan broke out shortly before 6 PM Saturday. Before it was over, one resident perished and 6 firefighters suffered injuries in the 4 alarm fire.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter before the all clear was given, however, and announced to everyone that the fire was out and thanked the firefighters for their hard work.
Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
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Much was made yesterday about both the premature high-five he gave himself in the tweet, and the stunningly pathetic way he refused to use gender-neutral terms when thanking the men and women of the NYFD, almost like he singled out (women) out of spite.
Now, however, the “well built building” boast embedded in the tweet is under scrutiny, with the USA Today reporting Sunday that residential units in Trump Tower do not have sprinkler systems.
“It’s a well-built building,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. But, “the upper floors, the resident floors, are not sprinklered,” he added.
Civil building codes requiring smoke-activated sprinkler systems in sky scrapers were not enacted until several years after Trump Tower opened its doors. Efforts to force developers like The Trump Organization to retrofit buildings erected prior to the new laws have been met with resistance, and current laws only require retrofitting when other large scale renovations are undertaken.
Complicating the matters further for Trump are records that reveal his position on legislation to address the lack of sprinkler systems in older buildings. The New York Daily News reported Sunday that, “nearly two decades ago, Trump, then one of the Big Apple’s most prominent real estate moguls, lobbied against Mayor Rudy Giuliani-era legislation that considered whether sprinklers should be installed in all residential buildings.”
That package of legislation came in 1998, after two tower fires in Brooklyn and Manhattan resulted in multiple fatalities, including three firefighters.
Still, Trump thought the cost to prevent those tragedies was too high. More from the NY Daily News:
Trump called city officials like famed Queens politician Archie Spigner, whose council committee compiled the bill, to argue that sprinklers were too expensive — at $4 per square foot — to install throughout an entire building.
This is the second fire this year at the president’s premier property. A minor fire broke out in cooling equipment on the roof of the building immediately above Trump’s penthouse residence in January but was quickly extinguished. Two people suffered minor injuries in that fire.
Because the Trump Organization violated no laws or building codes in the construction of Trump Tower, it’s unlikely Trump himself will face any legal repercussions. But the next time anyone boasts that Trump stands with first responders – up to and including the president himself – remind them of this shameful episode that proves otherwise.