Fire outbreak occurred in the evening of March 25, 1911, at the Triangle Waist Factory in New York City. It affected the top floors of the Asch Building that housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The fire consumed 146 of the 500 employees. Workers at this factory were mostly women, and some were as young as 15 years old (Newman). Many of them were recent European Jewish immigrants who had migrated to the United States together with their families searching for a better life. Contrary to their expectations, they were exposed to lives of extreme poverty and horrifying working environment by factory owners. For these workers, voicing out their conditions would make them lose their jobs hence they endured those harsh working conditions. (Cohen).
According to the interview carried out by the New York Times, the factory’s owner Max Blanck clearly explained how they had taken precautions against emergency of accidents. He said that the city Building Department and factory inspectors had inspected the building. The inspectors required the additional window in the woman’s changing room and installation of guards on the machines, the requirements which he met. He confirmed that he even used to carry out improvements ahead of requirements. Blanck also informed the reporter that he even went an extra mile ahead to employ a day and night watchman to maintain peace and order citing an incident of fire that occurred at night nine years ago as the one that prompted the factory to employ a watchman (Cohen).
Blank affirmed that he made it his personal duty to go to each door every morning and see if it was open. Also, he said that the door keys were always tied to the door knob and that he knew the hallway doors were unlocked every time. This clearly indicates how caring the employers were in terms of their workers safety (Cohen).
The employers felt that they were not responsible for the fire outbreak as evident in the interview where Blanck seemed to think that the fire emanated among the bulk of material which was highly inflammable. Also, as outlined by Blanck on how they had taken a lot of precautions and safety measures against fire outbreaks indicates how he was sure there could not occur any fire outbreak. He outlines how the doors were always unlocked yet workers claimed that the doors were closed at all times (Cohen). This showed how the owners did not want to take full responsibility for the fire outbreak.
The employers didn’t meet their obligations towards their employees. This is evident in an inspection carried out by a board to investigate the working conditions of workers in New York factories. Dr. Price, the board director, declared that “our investigation into the conditions in these shops clearly shows that fire prevention facilities are very much below even the most indispensable precautions necessary.”(Leon 26). Again, the factory had never done fire drills, as reported by P.J.Mckeon, an expert and a university lecturer who did an inspection on the factory. “Upon inquiring, he learnt that the firm had never held a fire drill.” (Leon 26). Therefore, it is clearly evident that the employers did not meet their obligations.
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