On March 25, 1911, a fire ripped through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York’s Greenwich Village. Terrified workers tried to make their way downstairs, but the factory owners kept the doors on the ninth floor locked, and the inadequate fire escape soon crumpled. Hundreds of horrified on-lookers watched as young men and women jumped from the windows. By the time the fire burned out, 146 people were dead. The tragedy of the fire and the ensuing public outrage led to landmark legislation that gave New Yorkers the most comprehensive workplace safety laws in the country.
"Triangle Fire" on American Experience airs on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m.