Worcester officials say several city firefighters somehow escaped serious injury during a large blaze when a backdraft explosion blew out part of the upper floors of an apartment building.
City officials say the firefighters were climbing a stairway to the top floor of the four-story building early Saturday morning when they were knocked down the steps by the explosion, which sent debris flying from the top floors across Lafayette Street.
All the residents of the building got out safely, and none of the firefighters was seriously hurt. Officials say 17 residents including five children were displaced from their homes.
The American Red Cross was called in to help the residents with housing and other needs.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.