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Monday, March 25, 2013

102 YEARS AGO - TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FACTORY FIRE

 The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 
The factory fire resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. 

The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was Providenza Panno at 43, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and "Sara" Rosaria Maltese.
A horse-drawn fire engine en route to the burning factory
A horse-drawn fire engine en route to the burning factory
Because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. 

The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

The factory was located in the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place, now known as the Brown Building, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.

NEVER FORGIVE ~ NEVER FORGET:
The women working for 14 cents an hour who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25 of 1911 created a vast movement for change, which in the United States culminated in the right to organize, improved fire safety and working conditions, the Fair Labor Standards Act, minimum wage laws, the elimination of sweat shops, and more.

The shocking fact is, it’s still going on today, in other parts of the world.

One hundred years ago, the outrage over the Triangle fire led to the rallying cry, "Who will protect the working girl?" Where is that cry today?


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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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