Family Keeps Memory of Hero Triangle Fire Elevator Operator Alive

Mar 18, 2015 782

When the fire broke out on the eighth floor at the Triangle Waist Company Joseph Zito continued doing his job. The 27-year-old Italian immigrant with a solid jaw and dark features kept the elevator running. It was about 4:30 p.m. Nearly quitting time.

The fire quickly spread from the eighth floor, igniting the over 2,000 pounds of scrap fabric on the factory floor and sending the employees — mostly young women, Jewish and Italian immigrants — scrambling for the exits. Flames spread to the ninth floor where small barrels of oil used for lubricating the sewing machines and oil soaked floor boards proved perfect fire starters.

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