Driver flees after car crash sparks apartment building fire in Worcester

WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - A driver who crashed his car in Worcester Monday night caused a large apartment building fire before fleeing the scene, police said.

Worcester police responding to the corner of Cambridge and Freeland streets just before 11 p.m. found an unoccupied BMW leaning against the building, which had both caught fire.

As firefighters battled the flames, police ran the cars registration, which came back to a local 28-year-old man.

A short time later, officers made contact with the man who fit the description of a witness who saw him run away from the scene, police said. Officers transported him back to the crash after matching the name he gave them to that on the BMW registration.

Investigators with the Crash Reconstruction Unit interviewed the driver and determined that he was not under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, police said.

Officers did not place the driver under arrest but he will be issued citations once the investigation comes to a conclusion, according to police.

Reconstruction investigators returned to the scene Tuesday morning because they could not process the crash while the fire was still active the night before.

Investigators determined that the driver was speeding while traveling on Cambridge Street when it lost control and struck a wall. The BMW then caught fire, spreading to one of the apartment building’s walls. The fire caused the roof to collapse, which forced firefighters to battle the blaze from the outside.

District Fire Chief Edward Thomas said the building’s siding was to blame for the fire moving so quickly.

“This building has gasoline siding, what the fire department calls gasoline siding,” he said. “It’s asphalt siding under vinyl, so that caused rapid extension up the surface.”

No injuries resulted from the crash or the fire, according to police.

The investigation remains active.