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The fire spread to the floors above claiming the lives of 146 workers.
Buildings, like the Asch Building occupied by the Triangle Waist Company, were successfully constructed to be fireproof, but prior to the Triangle fire, building safety was not a primary concern, which was evident by infrequent inspections, barricaded fire escapes, and insufficient fire The Triangle Waistshirt Factory fire was one of the worst fires after the turn of the 19th century.
It took the lives of over one-hundred and forty people, most of which died indirectly from the fires and smoke.
With blood this name will be written in the history of the American workers’ movement, and with feel will this history recall the names of the strikers of this shop—of the crusaders.”— Jewish Daily Forward (Drehle) On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire broke out.
(Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire) Proper workers’ rights and fire prevention installations were not in place or were not followed. As a result of these undesirable conditions, women shirtwaist makers picketed in an effort to demand respect and equal treatment.
During the early 1900s industrial fires or accidents were common place; injuries and the loss of life may have outraged a few people but like all tragedies the outrage would pass quickly and it would back to business as usual.
One such tragedy occurred on Saturday, March 25th, 1911, it was closing time at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and hundreds of employees were preparing to leave when a fire broke out on the 8th floor trapping Jewish and Italian immigrants, the majority of them young women.
One hundred and forty-six people died in futile attempts to escape the burning ten story building.
The main doors were during the day kept locked and only one doorway was opened for the hundreds of employees to file out, one by one, as their belongings were searched for pilfered goods.
Competition for jobs was at an all time high, especially in New York City.
Immigrants were flooding in and needed to find work fast, even if that meant in the hot, overcrowded conditions of garment factories.