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Trump Tower Condo Board Sues Over Fatal Fire Damage

Midtown, Manhattan

Trump Fire
July 27, 2018

Three months ago, 67-year-old Todd Brassner died when a fire swept through his 50th-floor apartment at Trump Tower. Now the building’s condo board has gone to court to get Brassner’s relatives or a public administrator to repair damage so that a dozen neighboring residents can move back into their smoke-damaged apartments, the Wall Street Journal reports

In its filing in Surrogate’s Court, Trump Tower’s resident manager, Beqir Ukaj, said that in addition to Mr. Brassner’s apartment, a dozen units remain unoccupied because of the smells, including all six apartments on his floor. “The owners of those units cannot move back into their residences because of the acrid smoke smell emanating from the charred remains in Unit 50C, which is overwhelming, inescapable and unbearable,” he said. In the court filing, the condo board said it had reached out to Mr. Brassner’s relatives, including his brother Howard, an art dealer in Lake Worth, Fla., who has not agreed to step forward. 

After an administrator is appointed, the board said it would move to conduct “critical repairs” and clean up the burned contents of the apartment that is creating a nuisance for other unit-owners nearby. 

After an investigation, fire marshals said the blaze was accidental, caused by interconnected power strips. They noted that a smoke alarm was not installed in Brassner’s apartment, which was full of his collections of artworks and musical instruments. 

On the evening of the fire, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!” 

Trump failed to mention the fact that well-built Trump Tower, which opened in 1983, has no sprinklers. Nor did he mention that in the 1990s he worked aggressively to thwart a law that would have required all existing skyscrapers to be retrofitted with sprinklers. According to a January 1999 article in the New York Post, Trump personally “called a dozen [city] council members to lobby against sprinklers.”

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