The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial: 
A Chronology 

(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.
1906 The Triangle Shirtwaist Company opens a factory on the eighth floor of the Asch building.
June 1909 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.
September 1909 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 necessary."
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 do so.
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 working conditions in New York City's factories.  Resolutions are passed demanding new legislation.
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 and Blanck.
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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