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Let me open the door ladies.
Horse-drawn vehicles of Engine Company 72 arrived from a firehouse six blocks away. Firefighters unloaded equipment and prepared to swing into action. As they did, the area pumping station raised water pressure in the hydrants near the Asch Building. Other units soon arrived from across the Lower East Side with more equipment.
Nobody knows what started the fire but people said the first sign of trouble was smoke pouring from beneath a cutting table.
People caused a pileup so that those in front could not open the door. Whenever someone tried to get it open, the crowd pinned them against it.Someone pretty soon opened it.
The people knew jumping ninety-five feet to the ground meant death on the sidewalk.Their thinking, in those last moments of life, may have gone something like this If I jump, my family will have a body to bury, but if I stay in this room, they can not.The nets the firefighters had to catch them were not strong enough.
Onlookers saw many dreadful sights, none more so than the end of a love affair. A young man appeared at a window. Gently, he helped a young woman step onto the windowsill, held her away from the building—and let go. ¨He helped another young woman onto the windowsill. “Those of us who were looking saw her put her arms around him and kiss him,” Shepherd wrote. “Then he held her out into space and dropped her. But quick as a flash he was on the windowsill himself…. He was brave enough to help the girl he loved to a quicker death, after she had given him a goodbye kiss.”
The Triangle Fire was New York’s worst workplace disaster up to that time. Only the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center took more (about 2,500) lives.
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