• On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 145 trapped workers within minutes. Only one elevator was operational, one of two exit stairways was locked from the outside and the inside fire hose was rotted and its valve rusted shut.
• On March 29, 1929, President Herbert Hoover has a phone installed at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House. Previously, Hoover had used a phone in the foyer outside the office.
• On March 27, 1939, the University of Oregon defeats Ohio State University to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament, now known as “March Madness.”
• On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952 there were 58,000 new cases reported in the U.S., and more than 3,000 people died.
• On March 28, 1979, a pressure valve in a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania fails to close, setting off the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry. Safety devices would have prevented the crisis, but human operators misread readings and shut off the emergency water system.
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