31 Days of Notable Women- Fannie Lansner, heroine of The Triangle Fire

Fannie Lansner,  freedom fighter

 On March 25, 1911, 146 N.Y. garment workers died in what became known as the “Triangle Fire” — an event that led to changes in everything from building codes to workplace rules to American politics. Fannie Lansner was a forewoman in a relatively new, “fireproof” 10-story high rise — with Triangle using the top three floors — that was packed with sewing machines and support staff. In hindsight, though, safety concerns had not caught up with growing business needs. Sprinklers were not installed. The factory started two stories above the six-story height of fire ladders. To maximize production, there was little room left on the factory floor for quick exits. Stairways were too narrow to hold an outflow of workers. Exit doors opened in — against building codes — creating another hurdle to those fleeing catastrophe.

Late that fateful afternoon, just about quitting time, fire broke out. Investigators believe it started with a loose cigarette butt. Triangle Waist’s eighth-floor factory space was quickly engulfed — as flammable cloth and sewing patterns fueled the blaze. No fire alarm was sounded. The ninth floor workplace — where Fannie Lansner toiled — learned of the fire only when smoke and flames arrived. According to media reports and government investigators, Lansner kept her oversight role amid what has been described as wild chaos. She calmly herded several carloads of workers into a working elevator, refusing to take the trip to safety. She perished after that elevator became disabled – because too many workers had jumped into the elevator shaft to avoid the inferno.

Source cited: http://lansner.ocregister.com/2011/03/25/fannie-lansner-my-traingle-fire-hero/104123/


12 thoughts on “31 Days of Notable Women- Fannie Lansner, heroine of The Triangle Fire

  1. Diane, thanks for highlighting my Great Aunt Fannie, one of the many women — and men — who acted heroically on that terrible day 101 years ago. With International Women’s Day almost here, your list of notable women is most timely. The struggle for better working conditions and a decent life goes on even as it did a century ago. Here is some more on Aunt Fannie and the fire:



    1. Tom, I’m so honored you dropped by my blog. It was an excerpt from the article you wrote about the fire, and your Aunt, it must be inspiring to meet real life heroes in one’s own family!!


  2. Hi Diane. I am the co-producer of the recent HBO documentary film, “Triangle: Remembering the Fire” that revealed this long forgotten story about Fannie. I just want you to know that the Lansner family is extremely pleased with your post. I am too 🙂 Thanks for remembering her.


    1. Michael, both you and Tom do me great honor in recognizing my efforts here! Thank you kindly. By the way, if you know of any other women who’ve been passed over by history, please email me their names and a link to some information and I’d be happy to include them in next year’s “31 Days of Notable Women”.


  3. You appear to understand so much, like you wrote the book on it or something! I feel that you should be a little less p.c. to force the message home a bit, but other than that, this is a great blog. An excellent read.

    I’ll certainly be back. 🙂


  4. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx


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