Smoke poured out of the Asch Building in Greenwich Village. Then came the bodies. Young women—mostly immigrants, all poor sweatshop workers—leapt to their deaths in a desperate bid to escape the flames that raced through the Triangle Waist Company’s factory.
On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers who were trapped in an unsafe building during the preventable blaze. The tragedy shocked the public and inspired Progressive movement activists to push for new workplace safety laws in New York State—which ultimately became the model for stronger regulations across the country.
The factory was owned by Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, Russian Jewish immigrants known as the “Shirtwaist Kings.” They founded the Triangle Waist Company