Early in the 20th century, hundreds of New Yorkers - mostly women - worked in perilously cramped conditions at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. On March 25, 1911, disaster struck when a fire spread quickly through the building. One stair well exit was blocked by flames. Another exit was closed and locked - to keep employees from stealing. Many people jumped to their deaths from the building's ninth floor to avoid being burned alive. Others perished when the over loaded fire escape collapsed.