4 residents rescued from third floor of Mass. house fire
Sixty Worcester firefighters worked to control the fast-moving blaze; some were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation
By Kim Ring
Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.
WORCESTER, Mass. — Firefighters rescued four residents from the third floor of 63 Harrison St. as a fast-moving blaze forced at least one other person to jump from a second-floor window, neighbors said.
The fire was reported just before 7 p.m., and firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke pouring from the second-floor windows, Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said. The fire went to four alarms, with about 60 firefighters working to bring the blaze under control.
"When they arrived they had smoke pushing from the second floor, and it quickly escalated to fire pushing from the second floor on the lefthand side of the building and also from the rear of the building involving the rear porches," Chief Lavoie said.
There were no serious injuries, though some firefighters and at least one resident were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
4th alarm on Harrison extinguished. Extensive overhaul in progress. Extremely proud of group 4 FF’s handling heavy fire while making 4 rescues over ladders. pic.twitter.com/i7IEYGMA9M— Worcester Fire Dept. (@WorcesterFD) August 16, 2019
A woman who lives across the street from the three-story, eight-apartment building said she was outside and the smoke appeared suddenly. Then she saw flames, and a man jumped from a second-floor window.
Diogenito Jorge said he was visiting a friend on the third floor, and they broke a window after smelling smoke, opening the apartment door and realizing they could not escape down the stairs.
"We broke the window ... came out on the ladder. I'm still shaking. I'm happy to be alive," he said, his white T-shirt stained with ash. Police detained Mr. Jorge and his friend briefly, which upset him, but they were released.
Shawn Parrish came home from work to find his home on fire. He carried his 2-year-old son and said he and his partner most likely lost everything. He was at work and said he can see his home from downtown. When someone pointed out the smoke, he could tell it was his house.
"They're spraying water in my bedroom," he said. "We lost everything."
The Red Cross and city officials from Emergency Management were there helping those displaced find places to stay.
Along with the heat, the proximity of the houses and the steep grade of Harrison Street challenged firefighters, the chief said. Firefighters carry heavy gear on their backs and had to walk uphill from their trucks, which were lined up along Harrison Street.
"There was a lot of problems we had here, but the guys did an excellent job," Chief Lavoie said.
He said it was too early to tell what might have started the fire or where it originated, but an investigation is underway.
©2019 Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.