US & Canada

Trump Tower fire victim Todd Brassner 'hated' living there

Todd Brassner Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Brassner went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2015

The art collector killed in a blaze at New York City's Trump Tower had been trying to sell his flat and disliked US President Donald Trump, friends say.

Todd Brassner, 67, died on Saturday in hospital after the fire in his 50th-floor apartment. The blaze's cause has not yet been determined.

Friends told local media that Mr Brassner had been trying to move out of the Manhattan skyscraper.

His flat had no sprinklers, which Mr Trump reportedly opposed installing.

Mr Brassner was an art collector who once spent time with Andy Warhol. He is reportedly mentioned several times in the Pop Art star's diaries and the artist dedicated at least one print to him.

But Mr Brassner went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2015.

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Media captionTrump Tower fire: 'You got to get out'

Rachael Cain, a friend, told the New York Daily News: "He [Mr Brassner] hated living at Trump Tower.

"He talked about not living there almost nonstop.

"He thought that [Trump] was the worst thing for our country."

Mr Brassner is said to have often complained about the security ring of steel around the skyscraper whenever Mr Trump was visiting during the election campaign.

Stephen Dwire, another friend, told the New York Times: "He said, 'This is getting untenable.' It was like living in an armed camp.

"But when people heard it was a Trump building, he couldn't give it away."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The building contains offices and apartments

Mr Brassner - who reportedly bought his unit in 1996 - is said to have become depressed about living in the Fifth Avenue tower.

Bernard Joseph, another friend, told the Daily News: "He said, 'I have to get out of here,' a few times before and after the election."

Mr Brassner's apartment did not have sprinklers because the devices were not required in New York City skyscrapers when Trump Tower was built in 1983.

Building code updates later required residential high rises to install the sprinklers retroactively.

But owners of older commercial skyscrapers were not required to install sprinklers unless major renovations occurred.

Mr Trump was among real estate developers who opposed retrofitting as unnecessary and expensive, according to US media.

On Monday, New York City councilman Robert Cornegy Jr held a press conference to call for all older buildings to be immediately retrofitted with sprinklers.

New York's Department of Buildings said on Sunday that the city fire department was notified of the blaze through the Trump Tower smoke detectors in its heating and ventilation system.

The blaze sent black smoke pouring from the windows of the 664ft (200 m) skyscraper.

New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Mr Brassner's apartment was "virtually entirely on fire" when fire crews arrived.

Mr Brassner was found "unconscious and unresponsive" at the scene, said authorities.

No Trump family member was in the tower at the time.

The Trumps have an apartment near the top of the 58-storey building.

The headquarters of the Trump Organization is on the 26th floor.

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