Codes & Standards, Fire Service Traditions and History

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: Too Small a Value on Human Lives

 

Structural Firefighting: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire diagram

On March 25, 1911, 146 garment workers were killed in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York City. It was one of the deadliest fires in the history of the United States.

The original Fire and Water Engineering report notes that many, including FDNY Chief Edward Croker, had anticipated just such a catastrophic fire, and that fire drills at the location might have saved many lives that day. “One thing, however, seems to stand out very clearly–that the proprietors of nearly all such factories, in their eagerness to make money, place too small a value on human lives,” the report goes on to say.

Download the original 1911 report from our archives as a PDF HERE.