I’m a bit conflicted about this past weekend’s fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in New York, especially after hearing that Trump lobbied against the requirement for sprinklers in residential high-rise buildings.
Let’s be honest–any building code that doesn’t require sprinklers is job security for firefighters, the public be damned.
Trump apparently said that where sprinklers were actually needed was in one and two family dwellings suggesting that residential fire safety was an either or proposition, either low down or up high, but not both.
He tweeted that the fire was “very confined” proving what everyone already knows–properly fire-stopped concrete slab construction will contain a fire until the exterior cladding or windows are breached and then it’s off to the races.
That race was won by FDNY due to their ability to apply massive resources in a systematic fashion in order to get in front of a vented fire on the 50th floor; few, indeed, are the fire departments that can pull that off without a three or four floor chase.
Trump said nothing about Todd Brassner who was killed or the millions of dollars in smoke damage to the structure.
FDNY’s Commissioner Nigro was quoted in the Times as saying, “It’s a well-built building. The building sure stood up quite well.”
It would have held up much better had it been equipped with sprinklers, a fact which the Commissioner was professionally duty-bound to mention but apparently did not.
Here it is 2018 and we need to say it again, anyone who would live in a building without sprinklers and above the reach of fire department ladders is lacking in commonsense, at least.
And I’ll add one more requirement that FDNY so aptly illustrated yesterday–proper firefighter staffing–at least four persons on an engine or ladder company and the ability to muster a team of fifty on the fireground in fifteen minutes or less.
Anything else is but a pretty parade; all show and no go.