Trump's Old Sprinkler Views Re-Emerge After Deadly Fire

As a developer, he once fought against tough NYC measure
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2018 6:11 AM CDT
A firefighter looks out from the window of a damaged apartment in Trump Tower in New York on Saturday, April 7, 2018.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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(Newser) – One big factor in a deadly fire at Trump Tower over the weekend in New York City is drawing a lot of attention: The 50th-floor apartment that burned had no sprinkler system, though that was perfectly legal. The city passed a law requiring sprinklers in high-rises in 1999, but only for new buildings, explains the AP. Because Trump Tower went up in 1983, it didn't need to comply. Trump was among the developers who opposed the 1999 law as too expensive, arguing that it would add $4 per square foot to an apartment. As the New York Post reported in 1999, he personally called council members to lobby against the measure. The opposition affected the final version of the legislation, allowing older buildings to be grandfathered in, per the Washington Post.

However, Trump also made a move at the time that went above and beyond the new law. He decided to spend an extra $3 million to add sprinklers to Trump World Tower, then under construction. Legally, he didn't need to do so under the law. "People feel safer with sprinklers," he told the New York Times back then. "But the problem with the bill is that it doesn’t address the buildings that need sprinklers the most. If you look at the fire deaths in New York, almost all of them are in one- or two-family houses." Saturday's fire killed 67-year-old Todd Brassner, an eclectic art collector who lived alone, according to the Times. A friend tells the newspaper that he'd been trying to sell since the 2016 election, "but when people heard it was a Trump building, he couldn't give it away." The cause of the fire has not been determined.

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