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Hundreds displaced from Worcester high-rise after early Thanksgiving morning fire

Hundreds of Worcester residents were forced out of their apartments early Thanksgiving morning after a fire broke out, leaving an entire community displaced just as the holiday season begins.

The Worcester Fire Department responded to a fire in an electrical room at Plumley Village high-rise, located at 16 Laurel St., according to the City of Worcester. They arrived at the scene at 3:42 a.m. and quickly extinguished the fire.

However, the building’s electrical system suffered such significant damage that all residents are being relocated until repairs can be made, and the apartments are deemed livable, Worcester City Manager Eric Batista said in a statement.

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Power to the building was restored by 3 p.m., said Christine Milligan, a spokeswoman for National Grid.

Batista’s office and the City of Worcester Division of Emergency Management are working with Plumley Village management to find temporary housing for the residents of the high-rise, which consists of 120 apartments and 300 to 400 residents, the statement said.

Plumley Village is a privately owned Section 8 housing development that is home to about “430 diverse families,” according to the US Department of Energy. The development, which is owned and managed by the nonprofit Community Builders, Inc., consists of 15 three-story apartment buildings and a 16-story high-rise between downtown Worcester and I-290.

“Any time residents are displaced from their home due to a fire is cause for alarm, but to have hundreds of families displaced on Thanksgiving morning is tragic,” Batista and Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer said in a joint statement. “We ask for privacy for these individuals during this difficult time and in the days ahead.”

About a decade ago, a fire broke out in the same electrical room in the same building, said Worcester Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roche.

“I remember going to it, but I can’t remember exactly when it was,” he said.

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This time, it was a “very small one-alarm fire,” according to Roche. There were no reported injuries.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” he said. “It’s unfortunate it happened on the morning of Thanksgiving, but the management company is working with all the residents to put them up somewhere in the meantime.”

The Worcester Fire Department managed the fire without any state assistance, Jake Wark, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, said in an email.

No further information was immediately available on Thanksgiving.


Sofia Saric can be reached at sofia.saric@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @sofia_saric.