Fireproof Factories in New York City
The question of the safety of the workers in the garment and clothing trades of New York City in case of panic or fire was one of the principal incentives to the strike, and the fact that proper attention was not paid to the protests of these operatives moved them to obtain redress in the only way possible—namely, by “going out” in a body. It is barely possible that the proper authorities whose attention has been called to the subject so frequently since the fatal Triangle shirt waist factory’s fire, may at last be induced to take the matter up and shut down all such buildings as do not comply strictly with the law in this respect. That there is ample reason for it is shown by Francis Perkins, executive secretary of the committee on safety of the City of New York, who in a letter to the New York Times does not hesitate to say that in this city “the clothing factories of all kinds are fire and death traps. In the old non-fireproof buildings the stairways are not inclosed in fireproof material; the fire escapes are old, frail and entirely too small; the rooms are heated with stoves which are not protected in many cases; the gas jets are open; rubbish and clippings are collected in non-fireproof receptacles or allowed to accumulate under tables, and no attempt is made to maintain aisles to exits or unobstructed fire escape entrances. In the new fireproof loft buildings the rooms are overcrowded so that the occupants cannot get out in safety. Many of the new buildings have no means of egress from the bottom of the exterior fire escapes or stairs. The lessons of the Triangle fire have not been learned by the employers, and the committee on safety recommends for serious consideration this demand for better protection of life in the factories of this city.”
Findlay, O., has installed a 3,000,000 gallon pumping engine.