Re: What's a Cutter? #usa #general


It was called the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911. Over 140 employees mostly Jewish and Italian women  perished in the three story blaze. The official report on the fire says it started on the 8th floor which was the middle floor. The blaze is believed to have started by a cutter (cutters were male) flicking a spent match into the cutting scraps beneath the table. People were unable to escape by the stairs since the doorways were locked to prevent employees from leaving the factory without being inspected for  contraband. There were two elevators which only operated for a limited time because of the heat. the fire escape was inadequate and collapsed. Sixty people plunged to their death in the collapse.   While the owners of the factory were ordered to pay minimal compensation $75 per victim to the families, as a result of a civil case, they were not held criminal liable even though the fire buckets contained neither water nor sand and the hoses on the fire system were corroded and nonfunctional. a later civil trial awarded damages to the victims families but not more than $75 per victim was ever paid. The survivors were almost all people who ran to the roof which included the owners and their families.  As a result of the fire, NYC strengthened the fire codes for factory buildings and the ILGWU was able to get an ordinance to prevent owners from locking the exits. The industry remained resistant to organizing. The insurance payout to the owners was $60,000 above their loss.  Details including pictures are available in multiple places on the net.
Janet Marcus

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