Friday, January 13, 2017
NEWARK - 1910
On Nov. 26, 1910, a deadly fire engulfed a factory at Orange and High streets in Newark, illustrating the hazards of lax building codes and inadequate safety standards.
Six girls burned to death and 19 others plunged to their deaths from the windows of the Wolf Muslin Undergarment Company on the fourth floor, the fire having started on the floor below.
The quarters of Engine Company 4 were located across the street, however, the firemen were pushed back by the speed and intensity of the flames as the aged factory's floors were saturated with oil.
"From every window all over the building a stream of women began to fall through the air," The New York Times reported. "A few let themselves down from the window sills and hung for a second or two before they let go. Others sprang out hand in hand with companions."
Newark's disaster was a prelude to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City the following March that claimed the lives of 146 garment workers - and led to industrial reforms.