Fire broke out in the upper three floors of a ten-story factory building in New York City, and within half an hour 147 people—almost all of them immigrant women workers for the Triangle Waist Company—were incinerated.

Students assisted the New York State Factory Investigating Commission, established to conduct a broad inquiry into the tragedy.  “Often Vassar and Radcliffe College girls volunteered for the work of inspection, and one Vassar girl turned in a report to the effect that when she asked a girl in a factory what kind of fire protection she enjoyed, the girl answered that she didn’t know and didn’t care, since the finest thing that could happen to her, she thought, was for some conflagration to come along and end her miserable, work-a-day existence.”     The New York Times