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The Fire at Triangle Waist

The fire at the Triangle Waist

Company on the 25th of
March 1911 in New York City
is considered one of the
gravest industrial disasters.
The tragedy claimed the
lives of 146 garment workers
(Nobleman, 2008). The
tragedy is also of
significance as it exposed
the industrial exploitation of
workers and also lead to
numerous legislative
On the day of the fire,
Saturday, there were 500
workers working in the
factory. Workers were paid
minimum wages and were
needed to work for 9 hours
and 7 hours, respectively on
weekdays and Saturdays.
The fire started at around
4.05 and spread rapidly in
no time. Many escaped
through the elevators and
the fire exit. But the main
way out which could have
saved the lives of many were
the stairways leading to the
Greene Street and
Washington Place
(Nobleman, 2008). But the
fire did not allow the workers
to exit through Greene
Street stairway and the door
leading to the Washington
Place stairway was locked.
This was done to ensure that
the workers did not steal
anything from the
workplace. The fire could
not be put out in time and
hence lead to the death of
146 workers who were
mainly immigrant women
(ILR Cornel, 2011).
The fire was a tragedy but
lead to numerous reforms to
improve the working
conditions and safety
measures at the workplace.
One of the main positives (if
it can be called so) was the
organization of workers
through various unions to
stand up against the
exploitation of the workers.
The high risks involved in
working in high-rise
factories were now exposed
due to the tragedy. As a
result, new laws and codes
were created that required
the specific requisites from
building to ensure the safety
of the workers in a building.
Also, fire safety regulations
were improved and more
caution was taken in
designing of fire exits and
other safety devices.
But the trial of the owners
was a disappointing one as
justice was not done. The
owners of the factory were
allowed to walk away. It was
their responsibility to ensure
the safety of the workers
which they had failed to do.
Also, they further continued
exploiting workers. Also,
they made money out of the
tragedy by claiming
excessive money from the
insurance companies
(Nobleman, 2008).
The fire at the Triangle Waist
Company is one of the
greatest disasters in the
industrial world. It claimed
the lives of many innocent
workers due to the
negligence of the owners
who instead of safeguarding
their employees exploited
them. But the disaster
caught the attention of the
general public and the
authorities on industrial
exploitation and unsafe
workplaces. As a result, a lot
of reforms were made to
ensure such a tragedy would
not occur again