WORCESTER (WHDH) - Firefighters rushed to rescue five people who were left trapped on the second floor of a Worcester triple-decker after it quickly went up in flames early Tuesday morning.
Crews responding to a three-alarm fire on Merryfield Street just before 3 a.m. found multiple people hanging out of the windows of the burning building, according to Worcester Fire Deputy Chief Andrew White.
A terrified Ashleigh Oathout and her boyfriend were found leaning out of their third-floor window and gasping for breath as the intense inferno burned around them.
“I did. I really did,” Oathout said when asked if she thought she was going to die in the blaze.
Five rescues were made with ground and aerial ladders as flames engulfed the building. Seven people, including three who suffered serious injuries, were taken to an area hospital.
“I was crawling down and when I got to the bottom, the firefighter at the bottom said, ‘jump out, jump onto me,'” Oathout recalled. “I jumped onto him and he caught me on the ground.”
As a result of the fire, 14 people were displaced. Three floors of the eight-unit building were damaged.
Firefighters spent the day overhauling the charred structure as residents returned to salvage their personal possessions.
Despite the frightening ordeal, Oathout is thankful to have made it out alive.
“I’m just very grateful to be alive,” she said. “I’m very thankful to the Worcester Fire Department.”
The Red Cross is assisting those who were displaced by the blaze.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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