Deborah Woodard

Mr. Steuer and Anna Gullo

You passed girls in front of you on the way from the ninth floor? And you 
grabbed the pail in the process?  

Yes, sir. 

Then, carrying the pail, you took the time to go to the Greene 
Street door?  

The smoke was coming. But I pushed through and went down on the floor, 
to get out the Greene Street side. 

And this is where you are? 

[He indicates the Greene Street door.]


And when you went to the window and the fire escape, you turned around?  

Well, I was trying to holler... 

Mr. Steuer to THE COURT: I think it is pretty plain that she was trying to 
get out the window. 

THE COURT: You wait until Mr. Steuer is finished talking before you answer.  

Yes, sir. 

Some girls were standing around?  

I didn’t see any girls. 

But you said a moment ago that you were unable to move?  

I tied the waist across my mouth because the smoke was more waterfall than 
curtain. Then I pushed through. 

You mean you grabbed goods from the table? What goods?  

Plain white waists. 

Was this after you had spilt the pail of water?  

It was before. 

You had the belief that emptying it out the window would help? 

Yes, sir.  

I’m afraid that you have more cheerfulness in your soul than I do. Do you 
know Eddie Markowitz?  

Yes, sir. 

What did you do with the empty pail?  

[No answer.]

THE COURT:  Will you please answer?  


Mr. Steuer and Mary Domsky

Mr. Blanck had a phonograph on the 9th floor, didn’t he? He treated you out 
on the floor during the dinner hour. 

Because they had a strike and they wanted us to work for them. It was usually 
a polka. 

Mr. Blanck used to give prizes?

He gave prizes to the girls that used to dance better. Once he gave out 
postcards of cats at washbasins up on their hind legs. They wore emerald 
collars and had cat attendants holding out towels to them. 

Was the phonograph ever moved to the 8th floor?  

There was no phonograph after the strike. 

It is normal to look up once and awhile at the other girls when they pass, 
isn’t it?  

It is if you don’t get caught. 

Did it ever snow when you went to the toilet rooms?  

If it did, I didn’t go to the window to look.

Did you always show your pocketbook?  

I kept my money in my stocking. 

Even the money for your lunch? 

Yes, sir. And I slid my coat from the furthest hook called into service. I 
have described the coats, red-checked and one that was purple-quilted. In the 
fire, the rosettes on my stockings begun to singe. 

Go on.

I got hold of the elevator cable nearest my hand and threw myself in. The 
smoke came from the floor below, and I was rubbing against the walls. I 
said, “Please, girls, my feet!” There wasn’t room for a pin.


I had the fifth place at the fifth table, and I trimmed and made the whole 

Mr. Steuer and Ethel Monick

You are in a little room. You have walked into that little room from the 
Greene Street stairs, and you have just shut the Greene Street door. Now, 
if you want to go into the shop, what do you do?

I have to turn around.

That is what I thought. You have come around here?  

[Indicating on map.]

Yes, I have.

Two walls and the wall from the house adjacent was three? It was like a room 
with three walls. Do you remember that?

Yes, and a door.  

Could you look right through it?

Certainly you could. 

And everything is very plain to you now, is it.

Now it is plain. The door was four.

THE COURT: I don’t hear you. See that other man, he wants to hear. 

I will answer it—shall I answer this question again?

We are waiting, little girl.

The door was four.  

Put your finger on that diagram where the opening was, not where it is shown 
there, but where you believe that it was.

In the wooden wall?

The wooden wall. 

Right opposite like this. [She indicates.]

And you go in there?

Oh, I open the door from the stairs. Then I open the door from the inside. Then 
I go through the partition, and then I would be in.

You were not any bigger or heavier at that time, were you?

It is a year ago. I was smaller.

You were not any stronger that day, were you?

I don’t know.

Have it any way you like. It is your way of remembering that Mr. Harris and Mr. 
Blanck used to spend but five minutes a day on the ninth floor?

I kept my eyes on my work.

You don’t mean to say that you were afraid of those two men, do you?

Not exactly afraid. You know they are—I was nothing to them, you know, because 
I was only a working girl.

You like to argue some, don’t you?

Well, when a girl don’t do something right she gets discharged. That is why I 
did not talk to them.

Your getting your pay has nothing to do with this. That will be all.


I want to buy a music box, and then a phonograph


Mr. Steuer and Edward G. Worth, Battalion Chief, Fire Department

My understanding is that the single individual that was taken in the net was 
dead. Am I wrong about that?

When I took the first one out of the net, that girl was alive.

And later died?

One minute. I lifted her up when they tipped the net, and I said, “Now go right 
across the street.”

Is that right?


THE COURT: Keep your voice up.

It did not impress you as being a motion that was impelled by a person 
possessed of senses?

No, it did not. She walked, but it was like an automatic motion—probably six 
feet and dropped.

And you knew before you stretched the net that it would be useless?

When they came one at a time we could have helped. When they came entwined with 
one another, it was impossible.

What were your orders?  

When I got there, I had a line stretched by Engine 13 to the stand-pipe on the 
wagon. I ordered the men to cover the under hang with an inch and a half stream. 
My idea was to cool—

THE COURT: I think that I won’t allow that.

Now, one minute. Let me have that question again. I stood there for sixteen or 
seventeen hours.


mechanically she gripped the air’s one rung

Jacob Woll, Fireman, Recalled to the Stand

It was on the roof of the elevator car that those bodies you mentioned earlier were?

Yes, sir. All flattened like the charred pages of a book.

And they were landed there and you said there were nineteen in all?

We counted them as best we could.

When you got to the ninth floor, did you see any vestige of a door?  

No, sir.

Did you see anything in the nature of hardware?

I saw one piece, that the door swings on—a hinge on the wall.

But we are not speaking of the wall. Did you see any shred of that door?

Not of the door. No, sir. Just ash. And some sort of hanger they’d bent to hold the waists.


the wishbone is a hinge

Mr. Steuer and Joseph Brenman

[Through Official Interpreter Rosenthal] Did you look at the hats of the girls?

I only looked at the hats because my sister was already dressed. 

Isn’t it a fact that you were excited and didn’t know what you were doing?

I had in mind my sisters and couldn’t look at the things around me.

Did you cry out for your sisters, then?  

Yes, the younger one. The older one was sitting far away.

You were calling your younger sister’s name then, is that right?

“Sarah! Where is Sarah?” “Surka,” I called her also in Yiddish.

And then did you keep running around to try and find her?

[Witness indicates with his finger on the diagram.]

THE COURT: The witness indicates that he moved along the loft side of the 
partition separating the dressing room from the hall and stairwell on the 
Greene Street side.

Do you know whether any girls or men ran into you?

I can’t remember this.

How far had you got towards the elevator on the Greene Street side?

I didn’t get to the elevator. I came to the point where I have indicated and 
then my sister came to mind again and I ran for her.

Where did you see her last? She was near me when I worked at the second table.

Did she go to get dressed before the bell rang?

That is right.

Is it not a fact that the girls were not allowed to stop working until the 
bell rang?

Some of them were working by the week for the boss, but my sister was working 
for me.

So you could tell her to stop or go whenever you liked.

Yes, that is it.

Where did you sit in that loft, or in that shop? 

At the third table. My number was 85.

Did you get excited at all?

A little excited.

The people at the Washington Place door allowed you to crush through them?

I pushed my way through.

Weren’t they pushing back with all their might?

They were girls who felt faint and they couldn’t withstand my force.

Did you see your sister? 

If I would have seen her, I would have taken her along.


and suddenly revealing her thinner leg—


Mr. Steuer and Michael Iacovella

You said that you never went downstairs, or left your machine, except when there was dancing?

Yes, sir. I was always at my machine.

That strike lasted five months, I think, didn’t it?

Well, I think so. Yes, about that.  

And this is all you know about the matter?

I know nothing else.

Did you go downstairs then through the Washington Place door?

Sometimes I went up through the Greene Street door stairs.

You used to go down to the eighth floor, is that right?  

Yes, just to walk down and see some friends.

To take fun down there?

That was it.

Were you one of the dancers, too?

No, I don’t know how to dance, but I think that I’m going to learn soon.


I may learn or I may not

Mr. Steuer and Katie Weiner

When you sat second at the table, which way were your eyes?  

[Without interpreter] I have been in this country for three years.  

Let me ask you something different. Did you see Willie going away from the 
Washington Place door? And did you see what, if anything, Willie was doing?   

[With Interpreter.] He was trying to see if he could open it. 

Did any other girls try the door?  

No, I was the first one, but for one. I saw her red hair drop across the ladle.  

The tree uncooped its birds! And did you with your eyes see any other man 
trying the handle of the door?  

It was Willie the machinist that I saw, and it didn’t open so he went away.  

Yes, sir.

You went to the cloakroom to collect your things, didn’t you? 

My hands found my coat.  

You ran back and forth and then you rang for the elevator?  

Yes, I pushed for it right here. [She points on diagram.]  

Was your hand on the handle? 

 [No answer.]  

And when you say ‘the elevator,’ you mean the Washington Place door elevator?  


And nobody crowded you there? 

There was so many crowded there that I couldn’t get on. I thought the elevator 
would come back for me.

 Can you say again, what did Willie do with his hand?  

Well, he was trying to push open the ladle.  

You know what a ladle is?  

Yes. It is like a spoon.


I imagined I was eating

Anna Gullo, Recalled to the Stand

Who is Anna?

I am Anna.

How old are you?  

I am twenty. 

Did you know that an Anna Gullo has brought a suit against Mr. Blanck?  

We are not suing him for anything. 

But after the fire, you went to the Italian Consulate? You are asking to be 
paid because a member of your family is dead?

[No answer.] 

Let me ask you something else. You say that you saw Sam Bernstein at the door?  

Well, I never looked at the door.  

What did you see, then?  

I found a waist beside the chair and wrapped it across my mouth.

You testified that Mr. Bernstein thrust you aside and pushed at the door? How 
many times did he push at it?  

I can’t remember how many times. Before I knew it, I was on the rooftop seeing 
clouds of smoke. I heard the sirens coming and going.  

Show it on the diagram, where you went.  

I can tell you the story, but I can’t show it. 

THE COURT: Then tell it. Don’t state it if you don’t know it. 

I just did what I said and no more. Because each time I remember, there is 

Just a minute. I see the fleck of a supposition, like the sweet taste of an 
old apple. You never looked at that Washington Street door, did you? 

I did look at the door, wouldn’t you have?  

THE COURT: Mind your tongue, young lady.

There was a key that hung there, wasn’t there? 

There was never a key there. 

Have it your way. When you heard the cry of fire, you went toward the toilet 

There was a little cross of cloth between the two sinks, and I bunched it 
together like I always did. 

I’m asking you whether a girl pushed you. 

We was all bunched up.  


fire made a rosy ring for us