A raging fire that tore through a 50th-floor apartment at Trump Tower has killed a man and sent flames and thick, black smoke pouring from windows of the US President's namesake skyscraper.
New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the cause of the blaze is not yet known but the apartment was "virtually entirely on fire" when firefighters arrived. "It was a very difficult fire, as you can imagine," Nigro told reporters outside the building on 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. "The apartment is quite large." Todd Brassner, 67, who was in the apartment, was taken to a hospital and died a short time later, the New York Police Department said. Four firefighters also suffered minor injuries. An investigation is ongoing.
Shortly after news of the fire broke, Trump, who was in Washington, tweeted: "Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!"
Asked if that assessment was accurate, Nigro said, "It's a well-built building. The upper floors, the residence floors, are not sprinklered."
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Fire sprinklers were not required in New York City high-rises when Trump Tower was completed in 1983. Subsequent updates to the building code required commercial skyscrapers to install the sprinklers retroactively, but owners of older residential high-rises are not required to install sprinklers unless the building undergoes major renovations.
Trump's family has an apartment on the top floors of the 58-storey, 200m building. The headquarters of the Trump Organisation is on the 26th floor. Nigro said firefighters and Secret Service members checked on the condition of Trump's apartment.
Some residents said they didn't get any notification from building management to evacuate.
Lalitha Masson, 76, called it "a very, very terrifying experience." Masson told the New York Times that she did not receive any announcement about leaving, and that when she called the front desk no one answered.
"When I saw the television, I thought we were finished," said Masson, who lives on the 36th floor with her husband, Narinder, who is 79 and has Parkinson's disease. "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."