WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - First responders were able to contain a fire burning at a high school construction site in Worcester Monday afternoon, according to officials.
Flames could be seen burning in the area of the Doherty Memorial High School in the city’s Newton Square neighborhood around 3 p.m.
The City of Worcester later tweeted out a traffic advisory at 3:25 p.m., asking drivers to avoid Highland Street as firefighters responded to the area.
Video captured by locals showed flames burning at the top of one of four multistory buildings at the construction site. The structure is part of the long-planned, $300 million new school that will replace the current Doherty Memorial High School.
Thick black plumes of smoke from the flames could be seen across the city, according to several other residents who reached out to 7NEWS with their own video.
“It’s not easy to see one of your new buildings under fire,” said Rachel Monárrez, the superintendent of Worcester Schools.
“It’s like a punch to the gut a little bit, you know?” said Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty. “You put a lot of time and effort, a lot of time went into the planning of this school – it’s over several years and it’s supposed to be ready in 2024, and hopefully, that’ll continue to be the case.”
At a news conference, Worcester Fire officials said the fire was largely put out within 30 minutes of crews arriving. As of 4:40 p.m., first responders believe the fire may have involved recently installed insulation on the roof of the five-story structure.
“We’re always concerned about buildings under construction, the structural integrity – we don’t know the stages of constructions right away,” said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Adam Roche. “The third alarm was called for personnel, just due to the amount of hose lines we had to stretch, labor-intensive, obviously, it’s very hot and humid.”
At least one construction worker was taken to a hospital following the fire, but is expected to be OK, per officials.
Worcester Police later announced Highland Street was reopened to traffic just after 7:45 p.m.
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