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Four victims in fatal Worcester fire identified

Worcester police on Wednesday identified the four people who were killed in a devastating four-alarm blaze there over the weekend.

In a statement, police said the four victims of Saturday’s predawn fire at a triple-decker located at 2 Gage St. included three adult residents of the address and a man who lived at a different Worcester address.

Police identified the deceased Gage Street residents as Joseph Garchali, 47, Christopher Lozeau, 53, and Marcel Fontaine, 29. The fourth victim was identified as Sunderland Road resident Vincent Page, 41.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Worcester acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer told reporters Monday that investigators were carefully searching the building, and that the process had been slowed by concerns about the integrity of the structure.

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Nearly 70 firefighters responded to the blaze, which was reported at 3:31 a.m. and tore through the six-family building on Gage Street while damaging two neighboring buildings, city officials said. No firefighters were injured.

More than 20 people were displaced and the Red Cross of Massachusetts was assisting those families, officials said Monday.

By the time fire crews reached the location, the blaze was already burning up the rear of the building, Dyer said Monday. The roof began to collapse about 4:30 a.m., he said.

“The extinguishment proved to be extremely challenging, requiring firefighters to remain on scene throughout the day on Saturday,” Dyer told reporters Monday. “Due to the collapse of the roof structure [and] the severe fire damage, only a partial search of the building was possible on Saturday morning.”

Two bodies were found during an initial search of the damaged property early Saturday afternoon, Dyer said. The two remaining bodies were found Monday.

On Sunday, investigators had become aware of snakes in one of the apartments, forcing authorities to remove “a number of snakes” before the probe could continue, Dyer said.

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“We had the experts there and they pulled them out,” Dyer said Monday of the snakes. “I can’t speak to how dangerous these snakes were. Obviously, once we heard that [snakes were in the building], we took every precaution necessary.”

Dyer offered condolences Monday to the victims’ families and praised the “members of the Worcester Fire Department for their courageous efforts Saturday morning under extreme and difficult conditions, and for their continued efforts.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.



Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.