These muckrakers exposed the dangers of the garment industry and the policies of factory owners that are more concerned about pilfering than employee safety.
These reporters increased circulation and add profit to their coffers, but more than that they were society’s watchdogs – the insider to the political and social workings of local and state government.
Conditions were horrid and disaster was inevitable, and disaster did strike in March, 1911.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York set on fire, killing 146 workers.
Buildings, like the Asch Building occupied by the Triangle Waist Company, were successfully constructed to be fireproof, but prior to the Triangle fire, building safety was not a primary concern, which was evident by infrequent inspections, barricaded fire escapes, and insufficient fire The Triangle Waistshirt Factory fire was one of the worst fires after the turn of the 19th century.
It took the lives of over one-hundred and forty people, most of which died indirectly from the fires and smoke.The fire spread to the floors above claiming the lives of 146 workers.Nearly all of these workers were “The “Triangle” Company…Several groups like the moneyed, educated elite women, the muckrakers, the Labor Unions, and the political machines that controlled neighborhoods of New York pushed for political, economic, and legal changes to the industrial systems - in a democratic social time of reform – they were like much welcomed rain after a long drought.Newspaper reporters, in New York, sensationalized the Triangle Shirtwaist fire complete with photos of bodies lying broken on the sidewalk, coffins of charred remains, and bodies falling from burning windows.William Randall Hearst, a newspaper owner, and thorn in the D.A., Charles Whitman’s side, used his press skills and jabs to refocus the D. to the plight of the Triangle fire “horror” and to the legal responsibility that would be according to Hearst officially belong to the city...One hundred and forty-six people died in futile attempts to escape the burning ten story building.The main doors were during the day kept locked and only one doorway was opened for the hundreds of employees to file out, one by one, as their belongings were searched for pilfered goods.The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory grew quickly as Max and Isaac moved their business from a little shop by 1901 to the new ten-story Asch building at the top three floors.There were approximately five hundred workers who worked in the Triangle Shirtwaist Life in the early 1900’s wasn’t easy.