Springfield, MA — An explosion caused by a gas leak leveled a building in downtown Springfield Friday, injuring at least 16 people. Fortunately, there were no deaths.
Police Captain William Collins said the building, named Scores Gentlemen’s Club, exploded around 5:25 pm as a gas company was looking for a leak under the road. The club, as well as another building, were destroyed, and other buildings were damaged beyond repair.
Gas company workers and firefighters were among the almost 20 people injured.
The explosion blew out all windows within a three-block radius, leaving three buildings irreparably damaged. Emergency workers were prompted to evacuate a six-story apartment building that began buckling after the explosion.
Police Sgt. John Delaney said it looked like there was a missile strike at the epicenter of the explosion.
Officials at two nearby hospitals said 16 victims were transported with injuries, but none were critical.
Ten people were brought to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Jane Albert, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said it was not expected to receive any more people injured in the explosion.
Resident Wayne Davis said he felt his apartment building shaking a block away.
“I was laying down in bed, and I started feeling the building shaking and creaking,” he said.
Davis, a Navy veteran, said the boom from the explosion was louder than anything he’d ever heard, including the sound of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier.
Springfield, 90 miles west of Boston, is one of New England’s largest cities. According to US Census Bureau data from July 2011, there are 153,155 people living in the city.