The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, one of America’s most horrific industrial accidents, happened 100 years ago today, on March 25, 1911. Though New York City’s fire department arrived on the scene within two minutes of the call, the fire at this “modern” high rise at the corner of Washington Pl. and Greene St. still claimed the lives of 146 people, most of them young women and teenage girls. Some were burned, some died of smoke inhalation, some were crushed pushing for the exits, some fell from a faulty fire escape, and some jumped nine stories in an attempt to escape the flames.
It was a catastrophic, once-in-a-lifetime failure of what were considered more than ample emergency response systems. No one could have possibly anticipated. . . .
If you are in NYC, join a broad coalition of labor and community activists in remembering those who lost their lives that day and those that have fought ever since to prevent disasters like this from happening again. (There will also be demonstrations in other cities; some are listed at the link above.) A march begins from Union Square at 11am EDT; a memorial and reading of the names is set to begin at noon, at the still-standing Asch Building (now known as the Brown Building), just east of Washington Square Park.
At 4:45pm EDT, approximately the time of the fire, church bells will be rung here in the city and across the country. Please take a minute to listen and reflect on the lives lost a century ago, and the rights gained since.
[To watch the video in a separate window, click here.]