Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, NY, NY-1911
Near closing time on Saturday afternoon, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Asch Building in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Within minutes, the quiet spring afternoon erupted into madness, a terrifying moment in time, disrupting forever the lives of young workers. By the time the fire was over, 146 of the 500 employees had died. The survivors were left to live and relive those agonizing moments. The victims and their families, the people passing by who witnessed the desperate leaps from ninth floor windows, and the City of New York would never be the same. The images of death were seared deeply in their mind’s eyes.
Many of the Triangle factory workers were women, some as young as 15 years old. They were, for the most part, recent Italian and European Jewish immigrants who had come to the United States with their families to seek a better life. Instead, they faced lives of grinding poverty and horrifying working conditions. As recent immigrants struggling with a new language and culture, the working poor were ready victims for the factory owners.(http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire/).
The Triangle Waist Company was one of the largest shirtwaist manufacturers at the time of the fire.Located in the top three floors of the ten-story Asch Building in Greenwich Village, it usually employed 900 workers.On the day of the fire, only between 500 to 600 workers were there. When the fire was out, 146 were dead.
How the fire started no one knows. On the three upper floors of the building were 600 employes of the waist company, 500 of whom were girls. .The fire began small, but attempts to put it out failed.The fire jumped from debris pile to debris pile, eating up the fabric used in making the shirtwaists.The workers began to rush to the stairways and elevators.Some made it down the eight flights of stairs, though at least one door leading to the stair…