NEW YORK, April 8, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 67 year-old man is dead and six firefighters sustained injuries after a fire broke out in the victim's 50th floor apartment in New York City's Trump Tower, a 58-story high-rise that houses the Trump Organization headquarters and the personal living space of the President and his family. The residential portion of the building is not equipped with fire sprinklers.
"We are saddened to learn of this tragic loss of life," explains Shane Ray, NFSA President. "We work every day to share the benefits of fire sprinklers. We know fire sprinklers would have made a difference in this fire and that a life could have been saved and injuries to firefighters prevented."
NFSA Past President John Viniello and then Director of Public Fire Protection, Jim Dalton presented testimony to the city council in support of fire sprinklers in NYC as a later Trump Tower was proposed. They were joined by Vina Drennan, whose husband, Captain John Drennan of FDNY was killed in a NYC fire in 1994.
According to an article in the New York Daily News, yesterday's apartment fire was described as a "raging inferno." FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro stated, "The fire was a difficult fire. The apartment was quite large and 50 stories up." He also made it a point to note that the building's residential floors lacked fire sprinklers.
This is yet another example of the tragedy that can occur in a high-rise building which is not equipped with fire sprinklers. In January of this year, fire broke out on the roof of the building, injuring three people. Last year, a fire in the Marco Polo Condominium High-Rise in Honolulu, Hawaii killed four people and injured 13. These tragedies, while preventable, will unfortunately and undoubtedly be repeated if action is not taken to avoid them.
The fact that the building containing the President's private residence is unprotected by fire sprinklers in 2018 is hard for many to understand. However, fire sprinklers were not required when the building was put into service in 1983. Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of buildings across the United States that were built before fire sprinklers were required. Every year these buildings get older, and every year, as their systems age, they become more prone to fire. Trump Tower is one of the most expensive real estate properties in this country. In 2018, there has been two fires in 4 months at the property that led to one death and multiple injuries. These facts support the need for retrofitting of fire sprinklers in high-rise buildings.
The National Fire Sprinkler Association joined with other national fire service organizations recently to celebrate the fact that fire sprinkler incentives were included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that will address the issue for small business owners who are able to realize the benefits of Section 179 of the tax code. However, due to a technical oversight in the law, corporations cannot take advantage of the tax break because they were left out. Most importantly, residential properties, where 80 percent of the of the fire deaths in the country occur, were not included when Congress passed the legislation.
"We are working diligently with the fire service to heighten awareness of this oversight in hopes that it can be corrected," adds Shane Ray a former firefighter and fire chief himself. "We should not have a situation that requires firefighters to battle a fire in a high-rise building without the assistance of fire sprinklers."
The national organizations joined to hold a press conference on the 15th anniversary of the Station fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The Station fire killed 100 and injured over 230. Saturday's fire in Trump Tower reminds us that there is still work to do, and that all high-rises should be protected with fire sprinklers.
The National Fire Sprinkler Association has advocated for fire sprinklers in New York City, where the association opened its first office in 1914, and all across the country because of its long time mission to save lives and protect property from fire through the widespread acceptance of the fire sprinkler concept.
About the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA): NFSA was founded in 1905 and wants to create a more fire safe world, and works to heighten the awareness of the importance of fire sprinkler systems from homes to high-rise and all occupancies in between. The Association is an inclusive organization made up of dedicated and committed members of a progressive life-saving industry. This industry manufactures, designs, supplies, installs, inspects, and services the world's most effective system in saving lives and property from uncontrolled structural fires.
For more information about fire sprinklers, how they work and access to additional resources and information, visit www.nfsa.org for the latest material, statistics and a dedicated team of fire safety advocates ready to serve all stakeholders in order to fulfill the vision of a safer world.