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forgot to post this yesterday. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

One hundred years ago, a carelessly discarded cigarette started a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in NYC. The owners had locked all the doors to discourage thefts. The only way out was via the freight elevator and an external fire escape.

The freight elevators made several trips carrying the mostly poor immigrant women out, but the elevator was still many trips short of emptying the floor of the workers when it jammed from the heat buckling the rails of the elevator shaft.

146 women were killed. Some were killed directly by the fire, others were killed when the external fire escape collapsed under the load of all the people on it, more were killed when they threw themselves out the windows trying to escape the fire.

Next time you go to work, check your fire escape route to ensure that the doors are unlocked, the way is clear, and you know how to get there when the heat and smoke is so bad you are crawling on the floor to breathe, and the smoke is so thick that you can't see the floor you are crawling over. Hopefully you will never need this, but the day you do, you will really really need it to save your life.

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