On March 25th, 1911, a deadly fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. The blaze ripped through the congested loft as petrified workers —- mostly young immigrant women —- desperately tried to make their way downstairs. One door was blocked by fire and the other had been locked by the factory owners to prevent theft.
Some workers managed to cram onto the elevator while others ran down an inadequate fire escape which soon pulled away from the masonry and sent them to their deaths. Hundreds of horrified onlookers arrived just in time to see young men and women jumping from the windows, framed by flames. By the time the fire burned itself out, 146 people were dead. All but 23 of the dead were women and nearly half were teenagers.
The harrowing story of an event that changed labor laws forever, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Triangle Fire is directed and produced by Jamila Wignot (Walt Whitman, The Rehnquist Revolution) and will premiere on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:00 PM (check local listings.)