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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Oil on canvas

March 25th, 1911, Greenwich village, Manhattan, New York.

The epitome of sweatshop labor, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a harsh and grueling workplace. During a time of large movements for workers and women rights, and talks of labor unions, The owners of the factory were overly strict and frugal. The approximately 500 employees working that day on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floor of the Asch Building were working in rows of sewing machines and flammable materials with all exit doors locked. Just before quitting time a fire started on the 8th floor, probably from a cigarette, spread rapidly and consumed most of the top 3 floors. It was difficult for the panicked employee’s to escape because the stairwell doors were locked, the elevators saved many peoples lives until they became inoperable, and the rear fire escape eventually became overloaded and collapsed. Some resorted to jumping from the windows. In the aftermath 146 people perished and 78 were injured, mostly women.