Springfield, MA — Investigators are searching for the cause and origin of a massive gas blast that rocked one of New England’s biggest cities on Friday night, leveling a trip club and damaging a dozen other buildings.
No one was killed in the Springfield, Massachusetts blast, which has been attributed to natural gas, and the 18 people taken to the hospital did not sustain life threatening injuries, reports Yahoo! News.
Officers had already evacuated part of the entertainment district in Springfield after they responded to reports of a gas leak and odor. Because of this, the majority of those injured were first responders. State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan stated:
“It really is a miracle and it’s an example of our public safety officials, each and every day, putting themselves in harm’s way, taking what could have been considered a very routine call of an odor of gas, but they took the proper precautions. And thanks to God that they did.”
ABC News notes that tenants in the area have been evacuated while investigators search for the cause of the gas blast and building inspectors assess the damage caused.
An official from the gas company, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, stated that there are no indications of additional leaks in the area. Despite this, employees will still be monitoring the area over the next few days.
The natural gas explosion occurred around 5:30 pm local time and blew out windows in a three-block radius. A large hole was left in place of the multistory brick building that housed Scores Gentlemen’s Club, while a day care center next door was heavily damaged.
Omar Fermin, manager of the Punta Cana Restaurant located two blocks from the explosion, arrived to check on the property Saturday morning, discovering that the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling custom windows were blown out. Fermin stated:
“It looks like an earthquake hit. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Fermin worried that the restaurant will remain closed for a long time while its owner replaces the massive windows. Authorities have continued to cordon off the center of the explosion while they identify unsafe structures and work to determine the cause of the gas blast.