Investigators back on scene of deadly apartment fire in Worcester

On Tuesday the city confirmed no more victims were inside the charred building

WORCESTER, Mass. — Fire investigators are still going through an apartment building in Worcester that was destroyed by fire over the weekend.

On Monday, officials said they recovered two more bodies bringing the death toll to four. On Tuesday the city confirmed no more victims were inside the charred building.

Officials say sifting through the debris was a slow process for a few reasons. First, the building wasn’t structurally sound. But firefighters also discovered one of the apartments had a bunch of snakes. It’s believed they are non-venomous, but they were taking precautions just to be safe.

Drone video taken Monday by a Boston 25 News photographer captured the damage from up above, showing the roof of the 7-unit apartment building on Gage Street had collapsed. Also, a good portion of the back of the building is gone, which is why investigators needed to be extremely careful when inside.

The deadly fire broke out around 3:30 Saturday morning. The building owner tells Boston 25 there were 21 people living in there at the time. Firefighters initially found two people who had died in the fire. But two days later, two more victims were found. The city’s acting fire chief says the discovery of the snakes and the building’s instability hampered their search efforts.

“The building is not stable so we have to be very meticulous in the way that we approach the building,” said Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer. “We do have investigators there now, they are moving debris by hand so it’s a very slow process. The potential does exist for more victims.”

The fire also spread next door where 12 others were forced out of their home. The building owner said he hopes those tenants can move back in soon.

Meantime, the investigation into what started the fire continues. The building owner believed the fire started on the back porch. Investigators are looking at surveillance video to determine whether there was any suspicious activity going on before the fire started.

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

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