Trump Tower Fire: One Killed In Part-Time Residence of President

The Patch - April 08, 2018


Trump Tower resident Todd Brassner died after a fire broke out on the 50th floor of the Midtown Manhattan building Saturday, officials said. By Feroze Dhanoa, Patch National Staff | Apr 7, 2018 6:21 pm ET | Updated Apr 8, 2018 10:46 am ET

MIDTOWN, NY — A man was killed in a four-alarm fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on Saturday, officials said. Six firefighters were injured and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Neither President Trump, nor members of his family, who live part-time in the building, were present at the time.

Firefighters rushed to the tower on Fifth Avenue near East 57th after an automatic alarm went off in the building at about 5:30 p.m., Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro said at a press briefing. Firefighters arrived at the 68-story building about five minutes later.

Firefighters discovered a large 50th floor apartment engulfed in fire and emergency responders rushed, Todd Brassner, the 67-year-old resident they found inside it, to Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in critical condition, police said. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to NYPD officials.

Brassner was Andy Warhol's art dealer and appeared in the artist's autobiography multiple times, the New York Daily News reported. Warhol said they ate together at a Warhol's factory on Broadway in 1976. Several months later Brassner called Warhol and said he saw boxer Muhammad Ali in the Polo Lounge, the news outlet said, citing "The Andy Warhol Diaries."

"The apartment was entirely on fire," FDNY officials wrote on Twitter. "Members pushed in heroically, they were knocking down the fire and found one occupant of the apartment."

No other civilian injuries have been reported.

Two firefighters suffered burns, and four others sustained injuries, but none of their wounds were life-threatening, said officials. More than 200 firefighters and medical workers rushed to the scene.

"This was a very difficult fire," tweeted the FDNY. "As you can imagine, the apartment is quite large, we are 50 stories up."

Firefighters accompanied the Secret Service to check the president's residence — a triplex on the 66th, 67th and 68th floors — but it was unclear whether smoke had reached the unit. The units above the apartment where the fire happened, as they usually do, will have some amount of smoke, Nigro said.

The building had a considerable amount of smoke in it, Nigro said.

"Thank you to the amazing men and women of the NYFD who extinguished a fire in a residential apartment at @TrumpTower," Eric Trump wrote on Twitter. "The @FDNY and @NYPD are truly some of the most incredible people anywhere!"

The fire was declared under control at around 8 p.m., said FDNY.

Lalitha Masson, a 76-year-old resident, told the New York Times the fire was "a very, very terrifying experience."

"When I saw the television, I thought we were finished," said Masson, who lives on the 36th floor with her 79-year-old husband, Narinder, who has Parkinson's disease. "I started praying ... I called my oldest son and said goodbye to him because the way it looked everything was falling out of the window, and it reminded me of 9/11."

The city office of emergency management said to expect smoke and traffic delays in the area and the NYPD warned of traffic and street closures nearby.

The investigation is ongoing.

This is the second fire at Trump Tower this year. In January, a fire broke out on the roof of the building of the 68-story tower that left three people injured, including one firefighter.

The civilians were treated for minor injuries and the firefighter suffered minor injuries, the spokesman told Patch at the time.

Trump Tower has become the meeting point for New Yorkers who object to the president's policies.

Protesters chanted "New York hates you," when the president first returned to his New York City home from Washington in August, 2017, and more than 30 people who protested the repeal of DACA were arrested outside the tower in September.

Days later, Congressmen Adriano Espaillat of New York, Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois as well as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito were arrested after protesters sat in the intersection of Fifth Avenue and East 57th Street in order to block traffic.