A natural gas explosion has leveled at least one multistory building in the largest city in western Massachusetts and injured at least eight people.
Springfield firefighters and police are on the scene of a major gas explosion at occurred about 5:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. Firefighters were already searching for a gas leak near Chestnut Street and Worthington Street. The explosion is reported to have occurred near Scores Gentlemen’s Club, and completely destroyed Scores building.
Police and firefighters are evacuated the area, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also was on the scene, but he was also evacuated from the scene on Friday night.
Initial reports were that two buildings were damaged, and that at least two people were injured. Several ambulances responded to the scene. Saturday mornings report is that eighteen people were injured — nine of those hurt were firefighters, two were police officers, and four were Columbia gas workers. The first responders had arrived at the scene to report of a gas leak at about 4:20 p.m. The explosion occurred about an hour later
Fire command was at Chestnut Street and Worthington Street. As of early Saturday morning natural gas readings in the area are still higher than normal. Gas readings are being monitored within a couple of blocks of the blast zone.
The Scores Gentlemen’s Club is reported to have been leveled, and a large crater in a street was created. Dozens of other buildings in the area are reported damaged. Debris has scattered throughout the streets and sidewalks. A five-story building at Worthington and Chestnut was heavily damaged. More than 40 residential units in buildings are expected to be condemned in the area.
Dancers were reporting that they were told to urgently evacuate. The manager told them, “I don’t care if you’re (expletive) naked or not … get out!”
Springfield is the largest city in western Massachusetts with a population of about 150,000. Springfield building code enforcement is staffing two phone lines regarding concerns about damaged buildings at 413-787-6031 and 413-787-6032.