Day 845

Memorial to the victims

April 23rd, 2014

of the 1911 Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, the deadliest industrial accident in New York history, in which 146 garment workers perished. One witness to the tragedy recalled the horrific scene years later:

Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.

The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.
Each of the 14 pillars above seems to be dedicated to one person who died in the disaster, so I assume that means 14 of the victims are buried here at Mount Zion. Also buried in the cemetery is Rose Freedman, who was the last survivor of the fire before she passed away in 2001, after a "colorful and courageous" life, at the age of 107.

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