Labor Arts | The Triangle Fire | The Fire
The Triangle Fire: One Hundred Years After
The Fire

The Asch building on the northwest corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was one of the new “fire proof” buildings in New York. The Triangle Shirtwaist factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. Despite its modernity the building had serious fire safety issues: fire escapes were limited and flammable cotton was everywhere. The blaze that erupted on March 25, 1911, claimed the lives of 146 workers, most of them women, who either succumbed to the fire or jumped to their deaths. These workers found themselves trapped on locked floors that quickly became engulfed in flames after a bin of scraps, under a table, caught on fire. With no alarms and no orderly way to leave the building, Triangle became a death trap for the workers. The owners and managers escaped unharmed.


Façade of the Asch Building.

Photograph courtesy Kheel Center.

The 240 shirtwaist workers on the ninth floor had their escape blocked.

Brown Brothers photograph, courtesy Kheel Center.

Tons of water poured into the building.

Brown Brothers photograph, courtesy Kheel Center.

Crowds at Scene of Washington Street Fire, March 26, 1911.

Brown Brothers photograph, courtesy Library of Congress.

Outside Pier Morgue, March 26, 1911.

Photograph, courtesy Library of Congress.

Illustration depicting a wrapped corpse being lowered by rope from the Asch Building following the Triangle fire.

New York Journal, courtesy Kheel Center.

Portrait of two young women who died in the fire.

Brown Brothers photograph, courtesy Kheel Center.