Binghamton Clothing Company Fire Day commemoration of 108th anniversary | WOMAN

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  Binghamton Clothing Company Fire Day commemoration of 108th anniversary |  WOMAN

The fire skyrocketed up the stairs, trapping those on the 3rd and 4th floor.

The Factory:

All the factory workers were women expect for two. Most of the workers were also immigrants.

The Binghamton Clothing Company was owned by Reed Freeman and employed about 100 people.

Story Highlights

  • A monstrous fire started in the basement of the Binghamton Clothing Company, a 4 story factory on Wall Street which made men’s overalls and jeans.

  • NewsChannel 34 spoke with former Broome County Historian Gerry Smith about the event.

Freeman’s wife worked in the factory as well.

Unlike factories in New York City at this time, the Binghamton Clothing Company did not employ children. Some of the workers were young, maybe 16 or 17, but Freeman did not hire any child laborers.

The factory did participate in fire drills and other safety measures that were in place at the time. Smith says that many women did not like participating in the drills, due to getting catcalled outside the building. The women also had to wear long woolen outer skirts, which were removed once inside. The drills required the women to put the uncomfortable garments back on, and the unwillingness to do so may have been the cause of death. The Fire and the Victims:

In 1913, the Binghamton Fire Department was only half a block away. There was also a fireman’s convention in town on July 22nd. The fire engulfed and collapsed the entire building in 15 minutes while thousands of people looked on, unable to help. Due to the fire spreading incredibly past, the department was not able to offer much assistance.

Of the 100 workers, 68 were able to escape, many with burns and injuries. 31 perished in the fire.

There were two heroes of the fire – Nellie Connor and Sidney Dimmock. Nellie was the supervisor of the 3rd and 4th floors, and helped guide her workers to safety.

Those who died seemed to have gone back for personal items, or tried to jump out the windows of the higher floors. Some workers didn’t realize that the alarms were not a drill, and ignored them. Of the 31, 19 bodies were unidentified and are buried at Spring Forest Cemetery.