Firefighters: No sprinklers in apartment where fire broke out in Trump Tower

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Firefighters say there were no sprinklers in the apartment where a fire broke out in Trump Tower on Saturday night.

In fact, fire safety experts say that is pretty common. It's because Trump Tower was built before new laws went into place about 20 years ago - new laws that grandfathered pre-existing residential high rises from requiring sprinklers.

It was what was known as the 'Macaulay Culkin Fire' that pushed through new regulations. The actor's family owned an apartment on West 60th Street where a fire broke out killing four people.

Jerome Ross, a neighbor of one of those victims became the chief advocate for sprinkler requirements. Ross says real estate developers lobbied against him because it was too costly to implement. Ross says leading that effort was Donald Trump.

"Mr. Trump, what's the price of your child's life? What would you tell a real estate developer if your child has died and the real estate developer, you're confronting him and he says to you, 'I couldn't afford sprinklers?' What would you say to him, Mr. Trump?" Ross says.

Ross said real estate developer Trump called the office of the then City Council's Housing and Buildings Committee.

He says he will never forget how angry that phone call made him feel.

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