Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition

Triangle Fire Open Archive

Politics + Activism

Triangle Waist Company fire escape, weakened by the heat

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FireEscape

Contributed by : Megan Innes

Object # 141

1911

In high school, my history class was assigned a paper on any event before WWII. My father, a volunteer firefighter, suggested the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire since it related to women’s history, labor rights, and New Deal politics. I remember reading about Triangle and being horrified at the thought of girls my own age jumping to their deaths and being burnt alive behind locked doors, while trying to make the American Dream a reality for themselves and their families.

Courtesy of : Kheel Center

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Commentary

The Asch building was a literal death trap for the Triangle Shirtwaist workers. Not only were they locked behind doors as a means of labor control, but also the only fire escape available for escape couldn’t even withstand the weight of twenty people under the intense heat from the blaze inside. The fire escape collapsed, bringing down the workers who clung to its metal frame, killing all those who sought its refuge from the fire.  - Megan Innes

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  • Anonymous

    This picture really shows the destructive power of the fire.