Saturday, 25, 1911, entered the history books of united sates of America and the entire globe. A fire engulfed Triangle Waist Company located in New York City; during this particular time many women workers had finished days work and were leaving the premise. The 4. 45 bell marked the end of days work; and many of them assembled to gather their belongings and change their clothes. After some minutes, fire began at the eight floor, sending those in eight into panic and fear, of which they struggled to escape.
But, unfortunately 250 workers on the ninth floor had no information on the incident, until they were engulfed by fire, of which 146 perished. Police officers and firefighters raced to Triangle Waist Company to rescue the workers, but those in the ninth floor could not be rescued. Undeniably, Triangle Waist Company fire is a tragedy that developed a lot of protests and opened doors for reforms. Furthermore, the story entails more of women immigrants, who plated tremendous role in American industrialization.
After the incident, a lot of issues that changed the America took place. This include riots, policy implementation on insurance, ignorance and negligence of employees and more so security issue in American factories. Young immigrant women were victims of the tragedy; hence, women movements worked to liberate and uplift rights of women in the workplace.
According to Arthur (39), Max Branck and Isaac Harries, had thoroughly “ over insured” the Triangle Waist Company; hence, several fire incidence at the factory had invalidated the insurance policy. In this case, McFarlane elaborates on how the building was designed exposing factors of production into risk. He said that “ there are many factories build in the same design as wooden and brick buildings, with no chimneys, and pushcart take a lot of space” (Arthur 40).
Mysteriously the district attorney Charles Whiteman claimed that there was never a case to answer. On literary digest, on January 6, 1912, 147 people died yet nobody was guilty of the Triangle Fire tragedy. Charles Whitman said that “ the monstrous conclusion of the law is that the manslaughter was no one’s fault” (Literary digest 111).
As a matter of fact, the court acquitted the owners of the company on manslaughter case, showed that the laws in the past did not define and safeguard the rights of the workers. The case was to be forgotten so fast, whereas there were deaths and no guilty parties.
The Triangle Waist fire tragedy may have happed long ago but according to Chicago Daily Tribute (112) do not believe on the saying “ what the graves covers is speedily forgotten” But this was not to happen, the deaths of 147 women should not be forgotten. The event became a reference event in which the rights of people should be observed. In fact, if Max Blanck was punished it would have been a lesson to owners of factories.
Certainly, Shephard William was an eyewitness at the Triangle fire. Shephard saw all events that took place during the tragedy. William asserts that people were screamed saying that “ call the firemen” while others screamed “ Get a ladder”. Witnesses yelled to them not to jump. (Howard 78).
On Monday March, 1911, New York Evening Post reported that one could not walk a distance in the neighborhood without coming upon a hearse” (83). The document brings the real image of how the tragedy was devastating. Actually, the Triangle fire took place in the eyes of the media and other people in New York City.
Rosey Safran had been in U. S for only a year, like other she was working on the eight floor at The Triangle Shirtwaist Company during the fire (84). She asserted that “ I heard somebody cry “ Fire!” “ I left everything and ran for the door on the Washington place side” (85). Safran made a lot of impacts in the 1909 shirtwaist strike, the fire in 1911, created a connection with their union failure.
The insights from the documents were extremely valuable in recommendation of bills as well as the formation of company laws. The Triangle fire shaped the factories behavior, and established legal relationship between the employer and workers. It led to registration on industries and factories, this endured that industries operate on legal grounds. Additionally, to reduce child labor and oppression children underwent physical examination before employment procedures are followed.
Undeniably, since then factories were supposed to be well equipped with fire prevention facilities. This includes fire-proof receptacles, removal of rubbish, prohibition of smoking within the factory, as well as protection of gas cylinders and jets. The Triangle Fire also let to prohibition of taking meals in poisonous rooms.
Generally, a progressive period of reforms emerged after the Triangle Fire. Moreover, it shaped political arena especially with the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Perkins Frances, they both urged various democratic leaders seize reforms in the state of New York (Frances 120). The Triangle Fire is still remembered up to date for the deaths it caused, and the reformation that changed the face of American factories, employees’ rights, as well as employer responsibilities.
Argersinger, J. The Triangle Fire: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St.