SPRINGFIELD (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) Three buildings will be demolished following an explosion in Springfield that impacted a 4-block radius Friday.
Authorities cordoned off the center of the explosion Saturday morning as building inspectors worked to identify unsafe structures. They say more than 40 buildings, including a day care center, were damaged in the explosion.
Officials with Columbia Gas recounted Friday's events during a press briefing on Saturday afternoon. They say a service technician called to the scene at about 4:20 p.m. surveyed the area before evacuating between 12 and 20 people from the Scores Gentlemens Club. Gas service to Worthington Street was cut.
The explosion occurred less than an hour after the service technician arrived on Worthington Street. Officials with the gas company say any small spark could have caused the natural gas detonation. They have not determined the source of that spark.
At least 18 people, most of whom were first responders, were injured in the explosion. Scores Gentlemens Club was leveled by the blast and 150 residential units sustained damage. Residents received shelter at Central High School, which was expected to remain open through 8 p.m. Saturday for displaced residents.
Fire officials say 11 firefighters were injured. Two firefighters sustained significant burns, while others suffered broken bones. All have been released from the hospital.
Columbia Gas says the natural gas system in the area was on and intact by Saturday. They are continuing to monitor the gas readings, but say there are no lingering concerns. A full investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.
Mayor Domenic Sarno voiced plans on Saturday to look for some sort of disaster declaration to help fund the rebuilding of damaged buildings.
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