Remembering the Deadliest Fire in Binghamton History 100 Years Later
7/22/2013 (Updated 6:54:58 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
100 years after 31 people died in the Binghamton Clothing Company fire on Wall Street the details of that day are still chilling.
"Some of the women went back in for their purses. Others were trapped by the flames and either leapt to their death off the roof and upper stories or burned to death in the flames," said Broome County Historian Gerald Smith.
"The scene on the upper floors was one of horror. Flames spread with incredible speed, fanned by air from open windows and travelling like lightning up the stairwells. Women dangled from ledges, leaped from windows and were trapped in elevators and swallowed by flames," said Binghamton Fire Chief Daniel Thomas.
Among the victims were Sidney Dimmock, who went back into the burning building to save others, and Nellie Connor, who's calm instruction helped lead many of the 111 workers of the factory to safety.
"My mother always told us the story about the fire adn how she saved so many people by calming their fears," said Kathy Howell, great niece of Nellie Connor.
Many descendants of Nellie Connor used today's event as a bittersweet family reunion.
"I'm from down in the area of Carbondale around Scranton. We have people here from Elmira, Hallstead, Great Bend, Binghamton. We have Cousins from Georgia, upstate New York,' said Father Charles Connor, great, great Nephew of Nellie Connor.
"It's wonderful, the fact that people still remember," said Howell.
The legacy of that day, in combination with the Triangle Shirt fire in New York City which killed 146 people a year earlier, was safer conditions for workers who followed.
"All the EJ (Endicott-Johnson) factories that our ancestors probably worked in, or IBM, or Ansco were built safer and better because of this tragedy," said Smith.
****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News****
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