7. Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, 1911
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in Greenwich Village in 1911 would be the most deadly workplace disaster in the history of New York City until 9/11, with 146 dead. The building, which still stands, is now NYU’s Brown Building, but in 1911 this was the thick of the city’s garment district. A fire broke out on the top floors, and the workers were trapped because the doors had been locked to prevent them from stealing or taking breaks. The fire department ladder only went up six floors, too low to reach the floors consumed by fire. The elevators could only bring down a dozen at a time, and about 40 women threw themselves out the building. While workplace fires were commonplace, this accident spurred a reform movement across the country.