Inside the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse and Co. building, a monster was growing.
As the calls came in nearly 20 years ago, Worcester firefighters did what they have done for decades. They went inside the building to save people they believed were inside. They were met with white-hot flames. Oxygen only fed the monster more.
The abandoned cold storage warehouse was a 110,000-square-foot maze. The building had been cut up inside and had very few windows. In the aftermath, fire officials would call the warehouse the “building from hell.”
Some firefighters first on the scene thought it would be a simple surround and drown. Instead, they found much worse.
“This was a perfect storm of fires,” Worcester Fire Lt. John Franco recalled.