Yesterday, there was a fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan. The fire was severe enough that one resident died, and six firefighters sustained non-life-threatening injuries. In a stunning moment, the NYFD Commissioner announced to the media that the residential floors of Trump Tower had no sprinkler system. In what might be an even stranger development, Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen may have unwittingly tipped off something else wrong with the building.
While the fire was going on, Michael Cohen texted his friend Dennis Shields, who lives on the 42nd floor of Trump Tower, and told him to get out. According to the New York Times, here’s how Shields described his conversation with Cohen: “He said, ‘Are you in the building?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘You better get out ASAP.’ That’s how I knew to get out, otherwise I’d still be in there.” Wait a minute, something’s not right here.
Cohen may have been understandably overreacting when he told his friend to evacuate. If the fire was severe enough that the fire department thought a building-wide evacuation was necessary, it would have happened. But our question is this: how is it possible that Mr. Shields didn’t know he was in a building that was on fire until he got a text from Cohen? His description makes it sound like no fire alarm ever did go off. It’s one thing for Trump Tower not to have sprinklers, which is dangerous, but technically legal due to the age of the building. This makes it sound like the building doesn’t even have fire alarms.
We already have more questions than answers when it comes to the Trump Tower fire. For instance, the media had already reported that one person had been seriously injured in the fire by the time Donald Trump tweeted about how well his building had been constructed. Did Trump know that someone had been injured when he posted the tweet? When did he learn about the injury? When did he learn that the individual had died? Did Trump, a pathological liar, lead these residents to believe that there was a sprinkler system? And now, how did Dennis Shields not know he was in a building that was on fire until someone on the outside informed him?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report