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In Bangladesh, echoes of deadly 1911 Triangle fire

Meghan Barr, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The fire that killed 112 workers in a garment factory in Bangladesh last week bears eerie echoes of another blaze more than a century ago.

The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York City in 1911 killed 146 workers, spurred the organized labor movement and led to workplace safety improvements. But experts question whether the same will happen in Bangladesh.

James Gross is a labor relations professor at Cornell University. He says "profit and efficiency and competition always trump safety and health."

Most of the workers at the Asian factory were poor women. Young, poor immigrant women dominated the workforce at Triangle.

Yarn and clothes blocked part of the stairway in Bangladesh, and fire extinguishers appeared unused. At Triangle, crates of goods blocked the stairway, and water buckets couldn't cope.