March 25, 2011
The Friday Record - Triangle Shirtwaist Compay Fire
On March 25, 1911, a fire tore through the top three floors of New York's Asch Building, home of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. On the eighth floor, where the blaze began, garment workers and their supervisors quickly filed out. Two floors up, the company's owners -- Max Blanck and Isaac Harris -- were notified by telephone of the fire and escaped by jumping to the roof of a nearby building.
But on the ninth floor there were no phone calls, fire alarms or other warnings. In fact, the 200 seamstresses who worked there -- many of them new immigrants to America -- didn't realize there was a fire until smoke began pouring in from the floor below. Within a half hour, more than half of those women were dead: They had either died in the flames, been caught in the building's elevator shaft, or lay mangled and bleeding on the sidewalk below after jumping from the windows to escape the fire. The last victim, who fell 90 feet, died five days later. Six of the victims were burned so extensively that they would remain unidentified for almost a hundred years.
Triangle Shirt Factory Fire
Information on how the unidentified victims were identified can be found here.
Anna Kathryn Lanier