Enter- New York City, 1911 (late March (the 25th to be exact))
Asch Building, Greenwich Village -- 4pm
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory is located on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Asch Building. The factory has about 500 employees, most of whom are young women and a majority of those workers are immigrants. A fire begins on the 8th floor from unknown causes though it is speculated that a cigarette butt caught scraps on fire. The building had many a scrap from the thousands of produced blouses per day.
It is almost time for the workers to leave when a large fire breaks out on the 8th floor and quickly spreads through the rest of the two floors above it. People run to get out of the building which is filled with employees who are making around $4.00 per/hour in modern currency for around 52 hours of work a week, including weekends. To the horror of many, the doors are locked, they cannot escape. The owners of the factory locked the doors as a precaution against unwarranted breaks and theft by their employees. This action would later lead to multiple charges of manslaughter for both owners when the case makes it to court.
Due to the lack of exits, only a few lucky people are able to use the elevator before the flames engulfed it, those who are beginning to be eaten by smoke and flames turn to the windows as a final escape. The fire escape itself had not even been functional and ended up killing around twenty people who were using it for its purpose of escaping when it twisted under the heat, they landed on the concrete below.
Sadly, those were not the only people to land on the sidewalk. As the fire raged on, an estimated sixty-two people either jumped or fell from windows, leaving the street and sidewalk surrounded the building littered in cold, lifeless bodies and splatters of deep red stains.
The final death count totalled at around 146 people, most of which were women, and even children as the youngest death was of a fourteen year old female worker.
Today, in America, we have child labor laws so I hope that something as terrible as the Triangle Shirt Factory fire would not kill innocent children. There are also laws protecting workers rights in general...laws that allow for breaks, meals, and put a cap on the amount of hours a person can work in a week along with minimum wages.
Thought these kinds of regulations are placed on workers in the United States, tragedies such as the Triangle Shirt Factory still occur, more often than one would like to imagine, in less advanced countries and cities all over the world. This needs to stop.