||The Triangle Shirtwaist
(The image at left is a detail from
a 1938 mural by Enest Feeney, "History of the Needlecraft Industry," commissioned
by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.)
|July 13, 1900
||Plans for a new building for Joseph Asch at Greene Street
and Washington Place in New York City are approved.
|January 15, 1901
||Construction of the Asch building is completed.
||The Triangle Shirtwaist Company opens a factory on the
eighth floor of the Asch building.
||A fire prevention expert writes a letter to Triangle Shirtwaist
management suggesting that they hold a meeting to discuss improved safety
measures, but the letter is ignored.
||Local 25 of the ILGWU declares a strike against the Triangle
Shirtwaist Company. By November, the strike spreads to other shirtwaist
manufacturers. The strike ends after thirteen weeks that saw over
700 striking workers arrested.
|October 15, 1910
||The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory passes a routine fire inspection.
|November 25, 1910
||A factory fire in Newark kills 25 workers, setting off
renewed calls for improved fire prevention efforts.
|January 15, 1911
||The last time an accumulation (over a ton's worth) of cutaways
is picked up from the Triangle Shirtwaist factory by a dealer. (The
heavy accumulation of cutaways will help fuel the fire two months later.)
|March 16, 1911
||A report on fire traps is published. The report argues
that many New York City building lack "even the most indispensable precautions
|March 25, 1911 (4:40)
||Shortly before quitting time of 4:45, a fire breaks out
on the eighth floor of the Asch building, housing the Triangle Shirtwaist
factory. The fire will claim 146 victims, mostly young women.
|March 25, 1911 (4:46)
||NYFD Company 72 arrives at the Asch building. The
fire is spreading towards the ninth and tenth floors, also the workplace
for Triangle Shirtwaist Company employees. Employees on the eighth
floor head down, those on the tenth head to the roof, many on the ninth
floor have nowhere to go.
|March 25, 1911 (4:57)
||The last of dozens of bodies falls to the sidewalk from
the ninth floor ledge.
|March 25, 1911 (5:05)
||The fire is effectively brought under control.
|March 25, 1911 (5:15)
||The fire is described as practically "all over."
|March 25, 1911 (6:20)
||Fire fighters make their way to the badly burned top three
floors of the Asch building, finding dozens of badly burned bodies as they
|March 25, 1911 (6:45)
||Throngs of grieving people push through police lines and
move toward the Asch building.
|March 25, 1911 (8:00)
||By now, 60 bodies have been lowered from the upper floors.
The Death wagon returns to the Asch building for its second load.
|March 25, 1911 (8:15)
||A Triangle Shirtwaist worker stuck in water in the bottom
of an elevator shaft is rescued by fire fighters.
|March 25, 1911 (9:05)
||A row of lights strung around the outside of the Asch building
is turned on.
|March 25, 1911 (11:15)
||The last body is taken down from the upper floors.
|March 26, 1911
||More than 100,000 grieving relatives and curious members
of the public stream through a temporary morgue on the Twenty-sixth street
pier, identifying loved ones or just looking.
|April 2, 1911
||A meeting is held to discuss concerns over lack of safe
conditions in New York City's factories. Resolutions are passed demanding
|April 5, 1911
||A funeral parade is held for the seven bodies of fire victims
that remain unidentified.
|April 11, 1911
||Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, co-owners of the Triangle
Shirtwaist Company, are indicted for manslaughter in connection with the
fire deaths. Reports indicate that the escape route from the ninth
floor was blocked by a locked door.
|June 30, 1911
||New York creates a Factory Investigating Commission to
examine the need for new legislation to prevent future fire disasters.
The Commission will inspect 1,836 establishments and interview 222 witnesses
before issuing its report. In part because of the work of the Commission,
"the golden era in remedial factory legislation" is launched. Over
the next three years, New York will enact 36 new safety laws.
|December 4, 1911
||Jury selection begins in the manslaughter trial of Harris
|December 5, 1911
||An angry crowd of women shout "Murderers! Murderers!" at
the two defendants as they exit an elevator in the courtroom.
|December 27, 1911
||The jury retires to deliberate. After just less than
two hours of discussion, the jury returns a verdict of not guilty.
|March 21, 1912
||The District Attorney moves for a second trial of Harris
and Blanck, based on manslaughter indictments involving different victims
than those in the first tria. The case will be dismissed, however,
on Double Jeopardy grounds.
|March 11, 1914
||Twenty-three individual suits for damages against Triangle
are settled for an average of just $75 per life lost.
|February 22, 2001
||Rose Freedman, the last survivor of the Triangle Fire,
dies at age 107. She had been a lifelong crusader for worker safety.
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