The fire broke out at the end of the workday; Saturday afternoon, when everyone was thinking about their weekend just beginning. It spread quickly through stacks of fabric and paper patterns hanging above. As the young women, some only 14 years old, ran to escape, they crowded the doors and no one could exit; other doors were locked to prevent them from leaving early. Many fell to their deaths jumping out of windows; the fire truck ladders were too short to reach them. This factory fire in 1911 was New York's deadliest fire until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The author introduces some of these young workers to us and how they worked long hours for little pay in unhealthy, even unsafe conditions. We learn about the waves of immigrants; where they came from and why. We also learn what happened after the fire; how laws were created to make workplaces more safe, and how unions helped make that happen.
Similar authors: Sally Walker
Similar books: Fire! by Barbara Goldin (historical fiction);
High-Risk Robots by Tony Hyland;
One Times Square :
A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World by Joe McKendry;
Ellis Island, by Hilarie Staton
Date read: 6/17/2013