Victim in Trump Tower blaze spent time with Andy Warhol
NEW YORK (AP) — The man killed in a blaze at New York City’s Trump Tower was an art collector who spent time with Andy Warhol, but fell on hard financial times in recent years and went through bankruptcy proceedings.
Todd Brassner, 67, died on Saturday at a hospital after a fire tore through his 50th-floor apartment in the high-rise, which was constructed at a time when building codes did not require the residential section to have sprinklers.
The city’s Department of Buildings said Sunday the building did have working hard-wired smoke detectors, and that the fire department was first notified of the blaze by the detectors in the building’s heating and ventilation system. A cause had not yet been determined.
Brassner, who records show bought his unit in 1996, is mentioned several times in Warhol’s posthumously published diaries, with references including lunch dates and shared taxis. The artist signed and dedicated at least one print to him.
But in recent years, Brassner came upon money difficulties. According to documents, his family had stopped helping him pursue buying and selling art at the end of 2014, and in the last few years he had been “plagued with debilitating medical problems that have made it difficult for him to function.”
The fire sent thick, black smoke pouring from the windows of the skyscraper that bears the president’s name.
No member of the Trump family was in the 664-foot tower on Saturday.