Short but Deadly Burn

Asch BuildingDid you realize that the fire at the Triangle factory lasted only half an hour, from the initial spark to final burning embers?

Near closing time, the fire erupted on the eighth floor in a bin of scrap materials and fabrics. A steady flow of wind rushed through the elevator shafts from the street and fed the flames. Smoke began its way upward to the ninth floor. Garment workers, seamstresses, mostly women and young girls, raced to the exit door on Washington Place. It was locked.

Later, some claimed the doors were kept locked so the girls didn’t steal the fabrics. Within minutes the eighth and ninth floors were raging infernos. In my next blog, I’ll talk about the forensics of fire.