Eighteen people are in the hospital after a massive gas explosion in downtown Springfield that leveled two buildings and damaged a dozen others.
Nine Springfield firefighters, two Springfield police officers, one sewer worker, two civilians, and two Columbia Gas Company workers are injured. There are no fatalities, and none of the injuries are thought to be life threatening.
The explosion happened around 5:30 p.m. inside Scores Gentlemen's Club on Worthington Street. Firefighters and Columbia Gas Company workers were investigating a call for an odor of gas in the area.
Columbia Gas is currently monitoring levels of natural gas in the downtown area, which is still shut down. The gas company is still trying to figure out where the exact leak was.
The entire downtown entertainment district is shut down and will be shut down through the night, according to Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Buildings within a two to three block radius had some windows blown out. Demolition contractors have been called in to inspect buildings in the blast zone.
A perimeter has been established around the blast zone, and Springfield Police anti-looting details are patrolling the area. Columbia Gas says it will continue to monitor the area for elevated gas readings. They also intend to drill holes in streets to look for underground gas.
The blast was felt from as far away as Hardwick, 30 miles northeast of the city.
A shelter has been opened at Central High School for residents who live in downtown apartments and were evacuated.
The American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter sent a crew of 14 to assist. The team will work out of the Worthington Street firehouse to support first responders.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has contacted FEMA and the Small Business Administration to get federal assistance.
Anyone who had damage to their building or residence is asked to call 787-6031 or 787-6032 after 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
Stay with CBS 3 for the latest on this developing story.
Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, March 6 2014 9:29 AM EST2014-03-06 14:29:24 GMT
A South Carolina woman who drove her mini-van into the ocean at Daytona Beach with her three kids inside is from Cross in Berkeley County, according to authorities in Florida. Police say they interviewedMore >
A South Carolina woman who drove her mini-van into the ocean at Daytona Beach with her three kids inside is from Cross in Berkeley County, according to authorities in Florida. Police say they interviewed her two hours before the Tuesday afternoon incident but the woman was released because she showed no signs of being suicidal.More >
Friday, March 7 2014 5:10 PM EST2014-03-07 22:10:01 GMT
Several Windsor police officers, along with State Police and members of the Major Crimes division continue to investigate at a home on Bina Avenue. Officers could be seen going in an out of the 2-familyMore >
A man charged with murdering his sons' uncle in Windsor faced a judge on Friday.More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:04 AM EST2014-03-06 16:04:16 GMT
Batkid, the cancer patient who thrilled San Francisco with his efforts to save the city, was scheduled to appear at the Oscars but was scratched at the last minute, his mother said. Natalie Scott toldMore >
The 5-year-old Batkid who saved San Francisco was scheduled to appear on the Oscars, but his segment was cut before the show. More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 10:18 AM EST2014-03-06 15:18:45 GMT
Lawmakers were discussing a bill that would require drivers to take a test before renewing their license.Bill no. 335 would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.It states that "a licensee seeking renewal ofMore >
Lawmakers discussed a bill that would require drivers to take a test before renewing their license.More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 8:23 AM EST2014-03-06 13:23:14 GMT
They were stashed in a plastic tote and left along the highway to perish. Ten tiny puppies, all alive and well tonight, after being rescued and turned over to the KC Pet Project Animal Shelter. "He thoughtMore >
They were stashed in a plastic tote and left along the highway to perish. Ten tiny puppies are all alive and well after being rescued and turned over to the KC Pet Project animal shelter.More >
Thursday, March 6 2014 11:52 AM EST2014-03-06 16:52:13 GMT
The Metro Nashville Emergency Communications Center says employees received 162 false 911 calls from a child playing with an old cell phone in less than 24 hours. Officials say the calls started aroundMore >
The Emergency Communications Center in Nashville says employees received 162 false 911 calls from a child playing with an old cell phone in less than 24 hours.More >