Standing on the Northwest corner of Washington place and Greene Street on March 25th, just over a century ago, at 4:45 PM, you would have looked up to see women, mostly, engulfed in flames hurling themselves from the top floors of the building.
In 1911, Triangle Shirtwaist Company, which made a style of popular women’s blouse, caught fire. The employees had very little chance of escaping the flames. The stairwells were locked, the fire escape buckled, and the elevator had a carrying capacity of 15. 146 of the company’s 500 employees, most of them Jewish women, died either from the flames, the smoke, or from fatal injuries endured after hitting the ground while jumping to escape.
Until the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, this remained New York City’s deadliest accident. This single incident is responsible for most of the first worker and fire safety standards put in place in the United States government.
Know Before You Go
Accessible from N,R Trains at 8th Street Station