The tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911

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Girls and women ran to the doors and to the elevator. The elevator operator saved as many as he could, but he had to stop running the elevator because the fire had spread too far to keep operating it safely. Sisters, mothers, and daughters were separated. For some, the last thing they saw of their family member was either them going down the elevator, or trapped in the building. The workers became truly desperate. Some threw themselves down the elevator shaft after the elevator stopped coming. Others rushed to the fire escape, but it collapsed under all the weight. The firemen were not able to catch any of the girls that jumped through the window because the nets broke, the ladder on the tuck only reached to the sixth floor, and the water from the fire hose only reached the seventh floor. The firefighters sprayed the building as high as they could in hopes that the mist would cool the fire and start to put it out. The women soon realized that escape was hopeless. Knowing that they were going to burn to death, some turned to the window and jumped. None of the girls that jumped survived the fall. Within twenty minutes of the fire breaking out, there were bodies lying on the street and people surrounding the building. The total number of victims of the fire was 146. Nineteen bodies were recovered from the elevator shaft, and fifty-four workers died by jumping out of windows. 12 The two founders, Harris and Blanck, made it out of the burning building alive, but some of their family members worked in the upper floors of the factory and were killed by the fire.
People standing outside the building watched helplessly as people dropped from the windows of the ninth floor. William Shephard, a reporter for the United Press said, “Thud -- ...

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..., "The Triangle shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911." Accessed March 27,
23 "After The Triangle Fire: State And National Workplace Safety Reforms." Last modified March 25, 2011.Accessed March 27,
24 "After The Triangle Fire: State And National Workplace Safety Reforms." Last modified March 25, 2011.Accessed March 27,
25 US Department of Labor. "The New York Factory Investigating Commission." . Accessed May 16, 2014.

26 United States Department of Labor, "OSHA’s Mission."Last modified March 25, 2011. Accessed March 27,
27 National Safety Council. "About the National Safety Council." Last modified 2014. (accessed May 16, 2014).
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