BINGHAMTON, NY – The City of Binghamton has put up a new plaque commemorating a 108 year-old tragedy.
On July 22, 1913, all four floors of the Binghamton Clothing Company went up in a blaze, killing 31 people of the 100 workers, many of which were immigrant women.
In 2009, the City put up a plaque at the factory’s former location on Wall Street, honoring the victims, including two heroes of the incident who helped others get to safety, but died themselves.
The plaque was later vandalized.
The Parks Department worked to restore the memorial, and it is now on display once again on Wall Street.
Former Broome County Historian Gerry Smith says the fire helped set better safety standards.
“For whatever reason it gave us a lot more thought about how we build factories and the safety of our employees. And for those who think it has always been in place, no, it took these disasters to realize what has to be done,” says Smith.
19 of those who died have not been identified, and are buried in the Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton.
Smith says the cause of the fire is still unknown.