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1930s & Earlier / Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire 1911
On March 25, 1911, 146 employees of the Triangle Shrtwaist Company in New York City--mostly female Jewish immigrants--perished when fire engulfed their factory. Death came in many hideous ways: Some workers were trampled to death in the panic. Others suffocated on the smoke-filled ninth floor. More than 50 chose to jump to their deaths rather than burn once they discovered the emergency doors had been locked by their employer to keep them from leaving work early. Though nearly forgotten today, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire was responsible for many fire safety regulations and labor laws that exist today.