An Azerbaijan Trump Tower Fire Broke Out & It Wrecked More Than Half The Building
This week, in the second such incident for a Trump-linked property in the month of April, a formerly Trump Tower-branded skyscraper in Azerbaijan caught fire, leading to at least four injuries. According to The New York Times, the cause of the fire is not yet known, but it broke out inside the building ― which is still under construction ― on Saturday, torching the top 20 floors of the skyscraper.
In other words, the fire reportedly swept through more than half of the tower's total number of floors. The building, located in the city of Baku, was previously known as Trump Tower, one of the international skyscrapers bearing President Donald Trump's name. The Trump Organization, the president's private business, reached a deal for the tower's naming rights mere months before Trump himself jumped into the 2016 presidential race.
The naming rights deal was subsequently dropped after an article by The New Yorker alleged corruption on the part of Trump's partner in the deal, Anar Mammadov, the wealthy son of former Azerbaijan minister of transportation Ziya Mammadov. As the Times notes, Mammadov was described by American officials as "notoriously corrupt" in a diplomatic cable that leaked in 2009.
Earlier this month, the president's own Trump Tower in New York City ― one of the relatively few properties bearing his name that he actually owns, rather than simply having a licensing deal ― suffered a fire that killed one resident, an art collector named Todd Brassner.
In the case of the Trump Tower blaze in Manhattan on April 8, one exacerbating aspect of the deadly incident was pretty clear. The skyscraper was constructed and completed in 1983, years prior to when the installation of emergency sprinkler systems became required. In the case of the blaze in Azerbaijan on Saturday, however, there has yet to be any word about what caused the blaze, nor what (if anything) could have been done differently to improve safety conditions.
Again, it's important to note that the skyscraper in Baku does not currently carry Trump's name. The deal was ended by the Trump Organization on Nov. 30, 2016, just weeks after Trump won the presidential election. The issue of Trump's worldwide business empire received a lot of scrutiny during the presidential transition, owing to the various potential conflicts of interest it presented.
News of the fire in Azerbaijan swept through social media on Saturday, owing in large part to dramatic videos of the smoke and flames poking out from the side of the building. That was similarly true of the Trump Tower fire earlier this month, as short videos and pictures of the blaze quickly went viral. It's worth noting that the April 8 incident wasn't the only fire to break out in the president's Manhattan skyscraper this year, either. Another one happened in January, although unlike the April fire, nobody was killed.
To call the skyscraper in Baku a troubled project would be an understatement. Despite the fact that the Trump Organization entered into the deal back in 2012, and despite construction on the building having begun in 2008, it has not yet been opened to the public. What that means, in simple terms, is that the project has ben underway for a solid ten years, and there still hasn't been a grand opening.
It's unclear what exactly this latest fire means for the building's eventual opening, as the full extent of the damage is not yet publicly known. Thus far, however, there have thankfully not been any reports of lives being lost in the fire, although as previously mentioned, several people were reportedly injured.