HOW FIRE AFFECT THE LIVES OF CITY DWELLERS 1
HowFire Affect the Lives of City Dwellers
While the middleclass expanded and flourished, especially at the beginning of the20th century, labor movement grew in recognition. Thismeant that “once a worker always a worker” particularly forchildren, women, and immigrants for whom opportunities to improvestandards of living would not materialize. Working conditions thatwere experienced at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company meant a warningwas offered for the industrial growth uneven effects. By the timeperiod at the time when fire at the Triangle occurred, the Americansociety had only started to identify new workers, and in addition thepeculiar dangers in their midst, which they were likely to face.While the sewed garments, which defined the style of the middle-classin new but uninspected buildings in the factory, these youngimmigrant women were in the meantime risking their lives in an unsafeconditions within the factory, for low wages. While these young womenrepresent city dwellers at the time, how did fire affect the lives ofthese urban dwellers in the American time period? The paper willattempt to answer this question while at the same time, drawing up asummary for discussion.
An example of acity dweller is Rose Pastor, which reflects the opportunities andmisfortunes of the city’s rapid industrialization. With this, “AHazard of New Fortunes” also represent among them serious attemptto treat economic and social problems of the modern city in aforthright and realist manner (Pickering, 1977). This raisesfundamental questions of the meaning of civilization in it,especially lives of city dwellers in the 1890s. Back to Rose Pastor,she represents an ordinary city dweller in the city. She gets marriedto Upton Sinclair, who had succeeded in getting hired as ajournalist. Upton Sinclair had managed to try to change cityconditions around his house just like any other dweller could do. Hisimprovement of the sanitary conditions illustrates the Americansociety response to city problems and limits of the capacity.
The TriangleWaist Company represents city amenities that have a higher chance ofbeing destroyed by fire. The company has a lot of workers with womenrarely taking more than $6 a day. The company, just like otherbuildings in the city, is dimly lit. This has forced the occupants toimprovise by using gas jets that are lit day and night (Pickering,1977). At the time period in question, the winter had no insulationand only a pot-bellied stove at the center of the factory. The cityfaces another problem. There is no drinking water. In that timeperiod, the city is dry and the city dwellers are experiencingdifficulties. The city condition was better or worse than all thetenements they lived. With those kinds of conditions, the company gotfire as a result of the dry conditions. On that afternoon of 25thMarch 1911, at the time when the fire broke out on the left side ofthe Triangle Shirtwaist Company, William Shepherd a New York reporterhappened to be at the vicinity at the time, a representation of citydwellers. When he had returned to write about what had occurred, hewrote while accompanying his paper with pictures, diagrams of thescenes, and reports.
City dwellersundergo a number of problems as far as fire in the city is concerned.This is represented by the fire that engulfed the entire TriangleShirtwaist Company. When fire began to consume the buildings, andwhatever the number of workers that were inside, they had chance toescape. Before the smoke or fire had given signs from the windowsaround the company, the loss of lives were underway from within thebuildings (Marcus et al., 2004). This scenario shows how fire affectsthe lives of workers within the city. At the time, the first signs ofindividuals’ awareness in the streets were that the three storiedbuilding within the city was under red furnaces in which human liveswere lost.
While the fireconsumes the company, it is evident that the adjacent buildings arealso at a risk of being destroyed. These buildings are also occupiedby people whose lives are also threatened by fire. This representsthe kind of average city dwellers undergo. Trying to rescue thosepeople trapped from within the company, the rescuers are also at riskof losing their lives (Marcus et al., 2004). For example, at the timeof fire, the rescuers were able to save hundreds. They were able torescue hundreds of lives, which involved a lot of trips. However,they could not a lot more because of the fire that was streamingthrough shaft with flames consuming the cables. New York City at thattime period represented a city, which is at a risk. The dwellers areeven more at risk of facing numerous catastrophes, which includefire.
In conclusion,problems that continue to follow an ordinary city dweller are as aresult of efforts to make the ends meet. Before 1911, the periodcharacterized by sweatshops and strikes, workers used to toil under asingle roof. Contractors could then pay these workers at whateverrates they saw fit without considering their economic situation(DeAngelis, 2011). The owners of the businesses could not even knowthe rates that were not paid to the workers, nor were they familiarwith the exact number of workers hire to work. Today, differentfactors are still affecting the city dwellers, among them highstandards of living. The presence of sweatshops until today revealsthat city dwellers are still desperate to look for employment in thatkind of environment (DeAngelis, 2011). This has also contributedgreat to the kind of problem discussed earlier, which has continuedto affect their lives.
Pickering, J. H.(1977). The city in American literature. New York: Harper &Row.
Marcus, R. D., Burner, D., & Marcus, A. (2004). Americafirsthand: Vol. 1. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin`s.
DeAngelis, G. (2011). The 1911 Triangle Factory fire.Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers. Retrieved fromhttp://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/story/introduction.html