We will never really know how the fire started, but it was most likely caused by hot ash or a a lit cigarette match thrown by a cutter into the scrap bin.
Workers noticed the smoke and immediately flung buckets of water at the fire, without effect. Flames shot up and the fire got worse, catching onto cloths and falling/spreading onto the tables.
While the vehicles of Engine Company 72 were on their way, employees rushed to elevators and stairs in a hurry to escape before they suffocated or burned alive. Operators made several trips saving many lives before the elevators melted away.
By the time the ninth floor was notified of the fire it was too late, the flames were out of control. All the exits were locked because the owners didn't want anyone leaving early or stealing. And fire escapes melted and crashed down before anyone could reach them.
Workers lined up against the windows trying to breathe while waiting for the firefighters ladder, but it only reached to the 6th floor.T he last resort was to jump so their bodies can be identified.
And just as fast as it started, it ended. At exactly 5:15, after 30 minutes from when the flames shot up, fire fighters had brought the blaze under control. It was a terrible experience for everyone that day. Rip to all the victims of the fire.