Portion of Route 20 closed as crews battle blaze

STURBRIDGE — A three-alarm fire broke out in a basement apartment on Easter Sunday morning, displacing dozens and temporarily closing a stretch of Route 20 to both east and westbound traffic.

Sturbridge Fire Chief John Grasso said in a press release on Monday the fire was caused by “improper disposal of smoking materials.” Chief Grasso added the fire was contained to the basement apartment and “quickly extinguished.”

Firefighting crews from around the area came to aid first responders from the Sturbridge Fire Department at 469 Main Street, an apartment building known as The 1738 House, across from the Boardwalk Plaza in Fiskdale. Chief Grasso said the third alarm was struck to aid first responders in the search and evacuation of the apartment building, where occupants of 14 apartments were displaced by the blaze.

According to Chief Grasso, one resident of the apartment building suffered a minor injury and was treated and released from a local hospital.

It was shortly after 7 a.m. that police closed off Route 20 east and west from Arnold Road to Bates Hill Road as firefighters battled the fire. Mutual aid responses from a numerous surrounding communities made their way to Sturbridge. Many of those neighboring departments were cleared from the scene by 8:45 a.m.

While firefighters continued to work on scene, Route 20 was reopened to traffic at approximately 9 a.m., according to a social media post by the Sturbridge Police Department.

The American Red Cross set up at the local senior center to help those affected by the fire, according to Selectman Michael Suprenant. Chief Grasso noted Cumberland Farms and BT’s Smokehouse provided food and beverages to those displaced by the fire while they gathered in the senior center.

This story has been updated since its original posting. It was last updated on April 22, 2019 at 8 p.m.

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