The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

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| 2010 | | | [Triangle Factory Fire] | Our nation has grown to what it is today because we have continued to learn from past mistakes in an effort to grow and be better than ever. Disasters are no exception. In 1911, a disastrous fire in New York City took the lives of 146 people, and could have been prevented had we known then how important building safety codes really are. The 146 lives lost were the ultimate martyrs for worker safety, and today, even though it’s not perfect, our country has some of the best working conditions in the world. | Throughout our nation’s history, great disasters have prompted major changes in society—turning points with an undeniable impact on American civilization. In the case of the infamous 1911 New York City fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, it took the tragic loss of 146 lives to help put fundamental workplace health and safety considerations on the national agenda. The Triangle Factory Fire’s loss of life was fueled by non-existent fire prevention measures, inadequate safety codes, lack of proper firefighting equipment, poorly planned fire escapes, and inaccessible exits. The aftermath of the fire would be the catalyst for three key changes to our industrialized nation: improved fire codes, healthier working conditions for labor workers, and increased factory safety standards. The Triangle Shirtwaist Company made shirtwaist style ladies’ blouses, popularized in an expanding retail market for ‘ready to wear’ clothing. The company, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, moved in to the top three floors of the new ten story Asch Building at the South end of Manhattan Island in New York. (Hopkinson, 2003)The clothing factory employed close to 500 men, women, and children. The majority were young, female, Jewish or Italian immigrants who worked seventy-two hour work weeks sewing clothes for a measly $1.50 per

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