Fire at Worcester high-rise forces dozens of families into the cold on Thanksgiving

WORCESTER, Mass. — Dozens of families were forced out into the cold Thursday morning after a fire at a high rise on Laurel St. in Worcester.

The fire chief on scene told Boston 25 News the fire broke out in an electrical room on the second floor around 4 a.m. Thursday.

No one was hurt and the fire was knocked down quickly, but the fire left the building without power and heat. The chief said it would be at least a couple of days until electricity could be restored.

The chief said there are 121 units in the 16-story building. Residents told Boston 25 News there are families with children, elderly people, and people with disabilities all living in the building. “Those of us that don’t have the money to go to hotels, now we have to sit there and figure it out,” said resident Joanna Pereira. “My sister doesn’t live here, she’s in Westborough, my mother lives in New Hampshire, so what am I supposed to do?”

One family toward the top of the building had to run down 14 flights of stairs with two young children.

“I was sleeping then I heard banging on the door,” said resident Lillian Clark. “At first I ignored it, but then like they kept banging and then I jumped up and I ran to the door. Once I ran to the door, I started smelling all the smoke so I went, I got them up and grabbed the kids and we started just running down the stairs.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Worcester fire, police and emergency management were all at the scene Thursday morning working to figure out where to put the residents up until they are allowed back in the building.

The fire chief said a similar situation happened at the same building a little over a decade ago.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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