Donald Trump, in his years as a real estate magnate, was part of a major push against requiring sprinklers in buildings in New York City, which may have ended up playing a factor in the fatal fire this weekend at Trump Tower.
On Saturday, a blaze swept through a residential part of Trump’s trademark Manhattan building, leaving one resident dead and several firefighters injured. While the details of the fire are not entirely clear, the New York Daily News pointed out that Trump was one of the loudest voices against legislation that would have required sprinklers to be installed in all residential buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Trump argued that it was too costly to install sprinklers throughout an entire building, and the legislation ultimately failed.
At the time, Trump claimed that sprinklers would make residents feel safer, but said that most fatal fires were not in high-rise residential buildings but rather one- and two-story buildings. Trump Tower has sprinklers on the first 10 floors for commercial tenants, but no sprinklers on residential floors.
Donald Trump has been criticized in the wake of the fire for not acknowledging the tenant who was killed but instead bragging about how “well-built” the building is and thanking firefighters. As Bustle noted, there was a major backlash against the president on social media for his boasts in the face of tragedy.
There were other criticisms about the safety of the building beyond the lack of sprinklers. As the Bustle report noted, many residents claimed they were not alerted about the fire and there were no instructions to evacuate. One man said he only left after receiving a text message from Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer — and a mutual acquaintance, warning that he should leave the building.
Other reports noted that there were no working phones and no one at the front desk to answer calls from residents about how to proceed. The fire was ultimately contained, though several firefighters were hurt putting it out.
In the day since the fatal fire at Trump Tower, Donald Trump has not offered any further statement on the blaze and still had not acknowledged the victim.