This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Unnamed band plays the Star Spangled Banner. Reverend Yager is introduced and gives a prayer related to the dangers of fire: "Open their eyes, Oh God, to the causes of fire in their own homes...lest fire come up on them in the middle of the night and turn their happy home in to a shambles and a house of death." "Give special force, Oh God, to the fire prevention program of our Fire Commissioner and our Fire Department." Chaplain Eckhart is introduced, and Mrs. Roosevelt comes to the stage. The crowd applauds, and Eckhart recites the Lord's Prayer.
Robert S. Oldsman of New York University speaks about the history of the building and company, NYU's ownership of the site. Dr. David Dubinsky, president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, condemns the management of the factory: "greed locked the doors." Continues to talk about the importance of unions, mentions Mayor O'Dwyer. Introduces Frances Perkins, former Secretary of Labor, who talks about seeing the fire and its impact. Dubinsky continues by talking favorably of Fire Commissioner Cavanaugh, who speaks briefly about the fire, specifically about the records the city has documenting it.
Mrs. Roosevelt speaks: "every one of us should rededicate ourselves to doing the things that we can do to prevent fire... to see that the laws are complied with." "I have never forgotten what happened that day fifty years ago."
An unnamed speaker implores the audience to keep the governor from passing the sprinkler bill.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 53569
Municipal archives id: LT9081
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Yes. I am. I am. I am. A. Reverend yang of. The name of the father of the son of the Holy Ghost a man. Oh God who was made all things from man's benefit. Well push to control in the water the dangerous element of fire. Without him we could not he was against the wind. Nor cook our food on our factory. Yet doesn't be uncontrolled becomes a deadly enemy and walks through cities leaving death and destruction in its path. That we might put a fight against the enemy or fire help the people of our great city to truly understand. Its terrible menace. Open their eyes on God to the forces of fire in their own souls that they may quickly remove them. Lest a fire come upon them in the middle of the night. And turning their happy home into a shambles and a house of death. All right as the city has to be conscience of our city to recognize that care best mistimed ignorance of fire our sins against most scientists. With almost given us life for God and we may not willfully be strong. You special force of God through the fire prevention for a friend of our fire commissioner and our fire department as we hear today we knew when we dedicate this program to the saving of lives and property in our great city. Lesson project or pray for him and who did he faced death and crippling injuries that others might live. Strengthen them up forms with courage and faith as they day be made at home for the return of the pontiff and father from his perilous beauties fearful lest the angel of death might come knocking at their door. We have these blessings of God by the life Grace and for by Holy Name say Amen in the name of the Father and of the snow and of the Holy Ghost Amen. Chaplain I carved. This is Rose. Thanks. Thanks. We all share together portions of Holy Scripture as we recall the memory of the sad occasion so many years ago. But the tristesse God will be with us in our own thoughts in minds and certainly interactions as we go forth to Labor in his vineyard and to attempt. To protect this great city of ours from the violence of fire and the tragedy of death. In Psalm forty six we read God is our refuge and strange a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters are already troubled though the mountains shake with the swelling there. There is a river the streams where I shall make glad the City of God. The holy place of the tabernacle of the most high God is in the midst of her she shall not be moved. God shall help her and that right. The Lord of hosts is with us the God of Jacob is rescued. And of course I would like to see any of these victims had committed to memory. Certainly words that were on their lives even as they were received into the eternal presence of the one they gave them life in the beginning. The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want you make it me to lie down in green pastures. He laid it maybe side they still want to. Hear a story for my soul and he lead with me in the past and righteousness for his namesake. Yea no I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for they are with me. I write in the I staff they comfort me. Now prepares to table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Now in earnest my head with oil and my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will do well in the house of the Lord for ever. May god add his blessing to the reading of this holy word. With you. I want to introduce a this time. Professor Robert S. Ohman of New York University to greet him behalf of the college. Honored guests ladies and gentlemen. I creature on behalf of New York University. The present owner of the site. Where the Triangle Shirtwaist fire took place. Exactly fifty years ago today. There is a long and honorable interrelationship between. New York University and fire prevention activities. The first fire engines used in New York were manufactured in London and more important seventeen thirty one these engines were manufactured by a well known company Richard Newsome which also manufactured engines used in Philadelphia and various other of the colonial communities. When the first members of the notion family came to this country the name was changed slightly to new something. They president of New York University today as Dr count of the new some of that same on fire engine company in whose name I treat you today. On the site right next to the Swan where this terrible fire took place Professor Samuel B. Morse of New York University invented the telegraph which is still the mechanism by means of which this is a perk New York Fire Department is summoned to most of its fires. In cooperation with the city of New York New York University conducts a program of executive development for the top officials of various city departments Commissioner Edward Cavanaugh of the fire department has attended this in addition we conduct a safety center which is concerned with such matters as seeing how industrial hazards of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire type can be eliminated completely we have learned much from this terrible fire. Education consists not only of learning from the lessons of the past but of profiting from them. New York University it's honor to be able to join with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and with the city of New York and commemorating the corrective steps that have been taken to make our city a safer place in which to work. Now at this time I want to keep those present day with the of the international aid is coming through because you know. Mrs OSWALD. Missed. This post. Most. Members. So why was this threat to. Me self-reliance an opportunity. Lost faster than I have. On this side. I wasn't trying. To. Work outside on the street. Fifty years ago today. It was not the traditional sweat shop. It wasn't near a shop I shop with the fishes. But. I mean my. The. Moment. Made. You week. And. Solo. Flight. Was. One of. Where were the shiny new opportunities. Where would the extra couple of dollars still bring gold was more love. As. Fire and wind it. Up. So you could for the I'll. Let me show you. One down long in the year of my life they did not try and. Fight. The cause of the long. The owner of the triangle became my agent that was its Yes. It did fold that no you know lookin. And not a scrap of typing white sand could get. Its young workers have to submit to be in. Office H.. Plant a single line. Because the almost. Yeah fifty years ago. And. Just three months my sound came to this country. And that after they. Picked up the phone. I was. Tragedy. The young children. Filled the slums of besides the five things you would be. Hellish claiming to. Read the false. We made the bomb. We'd put. Final speech. On the backside of the building. So on T.V. that it won't come. We decided no fire. We'd. File an. Even goal. She. Fired off that day fifty years ago. And pleaded for. This building and it was. Because of. What I had to be complete. And safe. Safe loans that would not inflated some. Bills that. Really demanded. The. Release. Of. Them that. The city at that time and. That site suddenly. And cry. And the man. Of this tragedy came in Industrial Commission and the state. Not only about safety in the shop but also all my thinking I'm mentally gospel points. And love the day. And night shifts in fact the commission board. In season. One of the list that was included Robert Wagner. And all of the backpack it included also the spirit. Of the state. Samuel Gompers president of the labor. Are still alive and half of the. Members of the Spanish. You. Know Hans think. The second best thing. In money toll was ambassador. And gold may. Help. In the pricing in my mind. Made. On the picket lines among investigators. A New Deal second. Sits on the platform today. Conference in which the people. Saw for the first time the. Words of one of those. In that great and we saw to the great value of every individual. We saw the great. Value of our own people and this high resolve that we often reminds me today. And respect the victims. In the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. Iowa results. And so it was that the factory investigating commission. Made an investigation that took. Four years of investigation. Of public airing of legislative formulation and the pressure. Of bills to prevent. And hardships which affected the working people of this state of this community and really of the whole United a whole United States. To the. Long. Career. Was. All. In the state of. Condition on the condition in the back. To. The occupancy. And between the work. And. Providing the. Claims of the triangle building should be. Fire proof and fire proof. And all. The regular. Relationship to the home. And eventually we wound up with. Remote. Remote from the episode of the fire. The provision of no night work for women the beginning of a new and important drive to bring. The brothers and sisters. In the working group. And in. This time the stirring up of the public conscience of the people in. These laws which makes this day. The best day in relation to its great respect. But that also that during conscience. In one thousand nine hundred and two the introduction of a new element in public life for the whole United States we had in the election of Franklin Roosevelt the beginning of. New. And upon with affection and respect upon those who died on March twenty fifth nineteen hundred and eleven in this great fire. Thankful and we can still say these dead have not died in vain and we will never forget thank you. The five commission. We consider him an extremist you know if you. Will not compromise. Fighting. With determination. Cooperating with us I really obliged to give interest in the. Effort to save this that he's performing and I believe with this to his credit that we have only the few files that he had I understand there's an emergency. And therefore I call upon the Mr the private have to say I feel like at this time. The Schneiderman. Members are very. Low in the amount members of the New York Fire Department I'm not going to take very long but I would feel the end great if I did not add my words of scripture to the words of President the bench. Which summed up the amount of. People who gave their lives in this tragedy shall not have given their lives in vain. Unfortunately now fifty years later we cannot look back and with truth. Did not give their lives in vain as president. Thirty three more have died even as recently as within the last three years under practically the same circumstances fire equipment change from the equipment here and here are some of the most modern equipment available in the world we have a lot of shops. On the roof of this building and this is one of our sure that has. Progressed to the point where we can say. Exploring the furthermost corners of space. With that progress in science we haven't gone more than tenths of inches in the protection of law and the square footage of the buildings and factories of. This tragedy which a card fifty years ago could occur today it could occur tomorrow and only God will prevent it from occurring in the weeks and years ahead the law does have. Some. GROSS disappointment. But it. Would be sending back the safety of the people in our factories. More than the fifty years that have transpired since this tragedy. We must however ladies and gentlemen in spite of the scientific and the mechanical and the technical equipment that we have in spite of the bravery and the courage of firemen in spite of the help we get from the great organizations to which we belong we must help ourselves I was reading the report of this file yesterday in our department it's box full of four up to eight nine. The file was all over in about eighteen minutes but in that eighteen minutes the fire had taken its toll and that can happen today if the Isles spaces are clogged if the egress areas are unavailable if doors are locked if there are not available metal covered containers for trash if housekeeping is pool or if there are no sprinklers the small heat the fire the pain that causes panic and cause panic in a matter of seconds and we have a tragedy on our hands we hope all of you and all of those with whom you will can come in contact will take to your hearts and mind the fire warden program that President and Mr Stein of words. And that each of you in your own way will help to make the laws and the equipment affected the laws and the equipment must be on affective unless you help in that extent make sure you have space. Good working and housekeeping condition and I'm sure then these people will not have died in vain. I'm going to leave now we have a factory fire and. Fire and it's been. Over the last three minutes fortunately it's a Saturday and we can hope that there will not be a tragedy at the same time we have a serious fire up on Fortieth Street in Manhattan all of this in five minutes. Ahead and if we realized a few elementary. Smoking cigarettes. From one end of the day to the other I'm sure we will have given a. Great gift to the victims of this fire and to prevent people from ever suffering such a tragedy again thank you very much. And I have invited listeners most well. Most of the nation. Will be if she can. And as much as I know Mrs Bell even she will be here. And she is here. And I want to spare the costs of not visit she has. Them home. Without merely say. Privilege here. The role. I remember. The horror. Which has been. Of the Triangle Fire. I think it starts with. The real the weight of the comfort. Of people so that they felt they had. It do the responsibility to do something about. Now. Unfortunately we forget. Fortunately. We do not keep that sense of obligation. Easily a lot we have to keep working. And I think remind one of the things that we should be trying to prevent we hope. Not. But we also know that on this day. Everyone. Dedicate ourselves to. Doing the things that we can do to prevent. The doing nothing we can do to see that. I comply and so I don't like. To tell you that I never forgot. What happened that day. And I. Remember. You. Because that is the way that we get the thing is that I. Thought you managed to as. I told. You. I call upon the citizens of. The. Bill. We shall be no more.