6. The Deadliest Fire of the 20th Century in NYC
The Triangle Shirtwaist Company building, now part of NYU
On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, now an NYU academic building, caught fire on its top floors. Because the door had been locked to prevent employee theft and unauthorized breaks, most were trapped inside. About 40 women fell to their deaths in trying to escape the flames. The fire department ladders rose only six floors, making rescue virtually impossible. The devastating fire killed 148 women as a result of poor building fire codes, and inadequate rescue equipment. The tragedy caused the city to reevaluate fire safety.