Fire burns in 4 Worcester buildings, 1 collapses
WORCESTER, Mass. (WHDH) -- A massive fire burned in four Worcester homes Tuesday morning, tearing one of them to the ground and sending residents fleeing for their lives.
“Everything was really fast -- I couldn’t believe it,” one resident said. “The flame was way beyond, like above the trees.”
The fire broke out in a vacant building at 26 Merrick Street just before 4 a.m. Tuesday. The wood frame building was being renovated and collapsed as a result of the blaze.
Three other buildings, spaced close to the first, also caught fire and a portion of the neighborhood had to be evacuated. Many residents had to flee without shoes, with only bathrobes or towels to cover themselves.
Joao Leige, who was inside a neighboring building, awoke to find his living room on fire. He said he grabbed his 2-year-old granddaughter and had to run through the fire to escape, burning his back.
“When I opened my eyes I see the dense -- a lot of smoke,” he said. “So hot in the living room.”
Anderson Borreia captured cell phone video of the fire and said the heat was unreal, melting the siding on homes across the street.
“The fire was so intense we couldn’t stay too close,” he said. “We had to be far away.”
At first it was believed someone may have been inside the first building when it collapsed; there was a construction worker who often stayed in the building, but it turned out he was not in the building at the time.
That same worker said he left the building at 11 p.m. Monday, at which point he found nothing amiss.
There was no immediate word as to what caused the fire.
Dozens of people were left homeless. The Red Cross is assisting them.