Deadliest fire remembered 100 years later

By Perry Russom

July 22, 2013 Updated Jul 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton Clothing Company fire is being remembered as the worst disaster in the history of the area.

A service was held Monday, 100 years to the day, outside where the building once stood on Wall Street.

"It's very important that we realize this was 100 years ago that these people, honest working people trying to make a living in the Valley of Opportunity, lost their lives because we weren't thinking safely of worker safety," said Broome County Historian Gerald Smith.

A total of 31 people died in the July 22, 1913, fire that consumed the factory in just 18 minutes.

Flames were so hot, firefighters weren't able to get within 100 feet of the building.

Tires to the fire engines were melting and the then-wooden ladders were catching on fire.

"Unfortunately, most of these events, there's been something tragic that happened that made us realize improvements we could make," said Binghamton Fire Chief Daniel Thomas.

The fire started a year after the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, and revolutionized stricter codes for fire safety.

"Because of this tragedy and the one in New York City, they mandated that every building, especially industrial buildings over two stories, had to have a fire escape and they had to have a sprinkler system," said Smith.

A plaque commemorating those lost in the fire stands along the riverside of Wall Street.

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