with Survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, March 25, 1911
The flames crept nearer to her desk, but Dinah Lifschitz held her post....
". . . I called the tenth floor, and I [said] ... there was a fire on the eighth floor... The people on the tenth floor... began to ring for the passenger elevators.... The cars began to pass the eighth floor."
The girls crushed against the eighth floor elevator doors could see the cars going up. "Some of the girls were clawing at the elevator doors and crying, 'Stop! Stop! For God's sake, stop,"' Irene Seivos remembered.
"I broke the window of the elevator door with my hands and screamed, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' It was so hot we could scarcely breathe. When the elevator did stop and the door opened at last, my dress was catching fire."
The car could not hold all who tried to crowd in. Irene Seivos jumped on top of the girls already in the car just as she saw the door closing....
One of those on whom she landed was Celia Saltz. When the fire had started, she was still at her ma- chine. "All I could think was that I must run to the door. I didn't know there was a fire escape. I even forgot that I had a younger sister working with me.
"The door to the staircase wouldn't open. We pushed to the passenger elevators. Everybody was pushing and screaming. When the car stopped at our floor, I was pushed into it by the crowd. I began to scream for my sister. I had lost her. I had lost my sister."
Celia fainted in the car but, in the crush, remained on her feet. When she regained consciousness, she was stretched out on the floor of a store across the street from the Asch Building. "I opened my eyes, and I saw my sister bending over me. I began to cry.
I couldn't help it, My sister, Minnie, was only 14."
While one group of terrified girls struggled to get into the elevators, another small crowd fought to get through the Washington Place stairway door....
Josephine Nicolosi recalls that when she reached the door to the stairs, some 30 girls were there. "They were trying to open the door with all their might, but they couldn't open it. We were all hollering. We didn't know what to do. Then Louis Brown hollered, 'Wait, girls, I will open the door for you!' We all tried to get to one side to let him pass. . . ."
Brown remembered that, when he reached the area of the door, he found all the girls screaming. "I tried to get through the crowd. I pushed my way through and tried by main strength to scatter them. But they were so frantic they wouldn't let me through. As I tried to push them to the side, they pushed back. . ."
Brown finally got the door open, and the screaming girls squeezed themselves into the narrow, spiral staircase, pushing and falling in their fright. Brown tried to calm them as he stood at the door ....
Sylvia Riegler was right behind Brown .... She had been in the dressing room when the fire started. . . . Her friend, Rose Feibush, ran into the room screaming, took her by the hand, pulled her into the shop, and began to drag her toward a window....
"Suddenly, I felt I was going in the wrong direction. I broke loose. I couldn't go with her to the windows. This is what saved my life. Always-even as a child, even now-I have had a great fear of height.
"I turned back into the shop. Rose Feibush, my beautiful, dear friend, jumped from a window....
"I don't remember how I got down. I was cold and wet and hysterical. I was screaming all the time. . . ."
Two men carried Sylvia across the street into a store and "stretched me out on the floor." "All the time I could see through the store window the burning bodies falling."