Victim families and residents make big discoveries after showing up to burned Worcester apartments

WORCESTER, Mass. — Four days into the Gage street fire investigation, police still have not released any identification of the victims. As more families showed up Tuesday, they told Boston 25 they heard from police that a potential criminal investigation could be holding up the release of those names.

Those mourning families were in disbelief as they left flowers for the four people who died Saturday. One victim’s family members told Boston 25 that her dad didn’t even live there, but was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dozens of people were displaced by the fire, including Cory Wheeler, who says as he came back to get his stuff, he came across a discovery.

“When we first moved in, there were no smoke detectors in the kitchen,” said Wheeler who stayed in his car for a couple of days. “Today, we go up there – there were new smoke detectors screwed in.”

Something else they saw on day four – several ATF agents, police, and a truck from the New Bedford fire department walking in with hazmat suits.

“ATF will not be here if it was nothing,” said Wheeler.

Police are still staying tight-lipped on the investigation into the cause, but residents like Manuel Lucero, who helped rescue several people, say they have many suspicions from what they noticed before the fire.

“Weird stuff to hear at three in the morning,” said Lucero. “A lot of hushed whispers rummaging around. It felt odd.”

Residents tell us they were all questioned by police, as was the landlord, about the start of the fire and even their living arrangements, something the Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus couldn’t elaborate on.

“I’m not going to get into that because that goes to the investigation,” said Augustus who was able to provide some good news. “We do believe at this stage that there will be no more victims.”

But even for those who survived, they lost just about everything.

“I went to Red Cross. They gave us $515, but the hotel is too expensive, so I don’t know where to go now,” said Jesus Colon, who was displaced. “They stole my car from there a couple of months ago, then in January my father died of cancer. Now this.”

The landlord Jim Li wouldn’t elaborate on the new smoke detectors but told Boston 25 there were working smoke detectors inside, and that he did everything up to code.

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

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