The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 Lessons learned from “The fire that caused a fire“

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					The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911

Lessons learned from
“The fire that caused a fire“

Office of Fire Safety

The Asch Building

The Asch Building, a 10 story fire proof building
located on the corner of Greene street and Washington Place in
New York City’s Lower East Side. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory was
located on the eight, ninth and tenth floors.

2                Office of Fire Safety
March 25,1911 - 4:40PM – Disaster strikes NYC

•   The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire was one of the largest industrial
    disasters in the history of the city of New York, causing the deaths of
    146 garment workers, most of them women, who either died from the
    fire or jumped from the fatal height of 8 or 9 stories.
•   Official FDNY records concluded the fire was probably started by an
    employee who carelessly discarded a cigarette on the factory floor.

3                  Office of Fire Safety
Sad Statistics of the day

•   19 bodies were found charred against the locked doors.
•   25 bodies were found huddled in the cloak room.
•   25 passengers flung themselves down the elevator shaft trying to
    escape the fire
•   62 jumped to their death from the ninth floor

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The unsafe issues that caused the deaths

•   Flammable material throughout the factory – loose pieces of garment
    and pattern paper everywhere on the floors allowing flames to spread
•   Locked doors – owners locked the doors to prevent theft
•   Exit doors opened inward instead of outward causing a pile up at door
•   Over crowded conditions – hardly any aisle space.
•   Fire escape collapsed. – only 1 fire escape for entire building
•   No alarm system – no bells
•   Never had a fire drill
•   Only 27 buckets of water

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Aftermath of Fire –
The Factory Investigation Commission

The deaths sparked a new flame in New York City. Out of the ashes of the
Triangle victims a Factory Investigating Commission was built, a
Commission which over the period of four years examined thousands of
industrial establishments, listened to hundreds of witnesses, held public
hearings and finally pushed through the legislation needed to reorganize
the New York City labor and fire departments, and to insure safer factories
for the working class.

6                 Office of Fire Safety
The Factory Investigation Commission (1911-1915)
“The Golden Era in Remedial Factory Legislation”

•   Inspected 1,836 industrial          •   Amended NYC Charter &
    establishments                          establish FDNY Bureau of
•   Interviewed 222 Witnesses               Fire Prevention.
•   NYS Legislative Hearings            •   Established New Fire Safety
                                        •   Established Construction
                                            codes for future factory

7               Office of Fire Safety
Resolve to Change – Fire Safety Laws of 1911-1915

   Fire Safety Laws

   •   Limit Floor Occupancy
   •   Mandatory Fire Escapes
   •   Two Exits per Floor (Min.)*
   •   Fire Alarms
   •   Mandatory Fire Drills
   •   Automatic Sprinklers*
   •   Fire-Proof Receptacles for
       Flammable material
   •   Rubbish Removal

   8                Office of Fire Safety
Resolve to Change – Occupational Safety

•   1911 – United Association of
    Casualty Inspectors
•   1914 - Becomes the American Society
    of Safety Engineers (ASSE)

    –   Environmental Health & Safety
    –   Workers Compensation Laws
    –   Insurance Company Inspectors
    –   Increasing Public Awareness for Occupational Safety

9                Office of Fire Safety
Fire Safety Program at St. John’s

       • Robert Gleason –
         Fire Safety Director

       • Edward Bergen –
         Asst. Fire Safety Director

       • Richard Webb –
         Fire Safety Inspector (P/T)

10          Office of Fire Safety
  Fire Safety Program at St. John’s

                                        •   STJ Fire Safety Policy
                                        •   Fire Safety & Emergency
                                        •   EEV Program
                                        •   Fire Safety Inspections
Office of Fire Safety
                                        •   Equipment Inspection and
                                        •   Fire Drills
                                        •   New Construction Oversight
                                        •   FDNY Liason

  11            Office of Fire Safety
Questions and Discussion

12         Office of Fire Safety

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