Engine Company, Fire Service Traditions and History

24 Die in 1958 Loft Factory Fire

24 Die in 1958 Loft Factory Fire

Almost 50 years after the infamous 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, 24 garment workers perished in another fire, a week before the Triangle fire’s anniversary date. 

“Careless housekeeping, delayed notification. . . large uncompartmented area. . . panic. . .rapidly spreading fire . . . lack of sprinklers. . . .” Fire Engineering Editor Roi B. Wooley commented in the April 1958 issue there was “nothing particularly new or unusual” about this tragedy compared to the one in 1911. Woolley observes new hazards spring up in as soon as old ones are removed. “We’re expected to put up with code violations because ‘we haven’t got time to make the improvements.’ Expediency–how many crimes are committed in thy name!” Although the above tragedy may be duplicated elsewhere, nonetheless, their occurrence may be mitigated by how well an “enterprising fire service” supported by the public and the judiciary, will “seek out, locate and eradicate these high-hazard risks.”

See the April 1958 Fire Engineering cover, the editorial “Lessons from a Second ‘Triangle,’ as well as the fire report, “Panic Piles Up the Dead in New York Loft Fire” HERE.

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