Reporting Paul Burton
SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – A massive gas explosion inside a strip club in Springfield leveled the establishment and left tens of surrounding buildings damaged beyond repair on Friday night.
Update: Cause of explosion identified as human error
Pastor Mitchell Plaud works at The House Of Mercy, a church located right next to Scores Gentlemen’s Club, where the explosion originated.
He says he’s devastated but thankful to be alive.
“I lost everything,” Plaud said. “But God saved me because my service starts at 6:30 p.m. and I usually come early to church, and the explosion happened at 5:25 p.m.”
The blast on Worthington street sent glass, bricks and debris everywhere.
“Thank God no one was killed. This truly was a miracle on Worthington Street,” Mayor Domenic Sarno said at a press conference on Saturday.
On Saturday morning many residents woke up to witness the disaster first hand.
Dozens of buildings were severely damaged. Three buildings are a total loss. Many apartments around the blast zone are still evacuated.
“The whole building shook first, then the windows came in,” resident Legacy Rivera said.
Throughout the day on Saturday city officials, safety inspectors and workers from Columbia Gas Company were busy surveying the area making sure everyone was safe.
“We will excavate the line that serves the Scores Club, so it can be investigated in order to get to the cause of the blast. As of right now we don’t know what caused the explosion,” Columbia representative Sheila Dorin said.
Right now, many residents like Pastor Plaud are still trying to figure out what to do next.
“It’s hard and painful. But we get our strength from God,” Pastor Plaud said.
The explosion is being investigated by the State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Massachusetts Department of Public Works.
There were nearly two dozen injuries, including 11 firefighters.
Everyone has been treated and released.