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Claims Center Set Up For Those Impacted By Springfield Gas Explosion

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WBZ-TV's Paul Burton (Photo: WBZ-TV) Paul Burton
Paul Burton is a general assignment reporter for WBZ-TV News. Burto...
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SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – It was a very busy day at Springfield City Hall as victims of the massive gas explosion waited for their numbers to be called.

Columbia Gas has set up a claims center at Springfield City Hall for those impacted by Friday’s gas explosion.

“It’s painful because we lost everything,” Pastor Mitchell Plaud said as he stood in line.

“Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by this especially those who lost their homes,” Columbia Gas Company President of Massachusetts Stephen Bryant said.

The State Fire Marshal ruled the cause of the explosion was human error. An employee of Columbia Gas had punctured a gas line accidentally.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

More than 40 buildings were damaged in the explosion.

Kim Lee, with Square One Children’s Center, got her first look at the extent of the damage Monday morning. On a normal Friday, she would have had one hundred preschool-age children in it but due to the holiday, the school was closed.

Lee is hoping they can get $50,000 in donations to set the kids up at another location. This is the second time the school has had to rebuild.

In 2011, the tornado wiped out the center. That insurance claim was just settled last week.

“We will be asking for emergency money,” Lee said with tears in her eyes.

The blast is under investigation by the Department of Public Utilities.

“I think we are starting to get back to a sense of normalcy. Right now some people may be able to go back to their residential areas,” Mayor Domenic Sarno said.

Lee says the fact that no one was killed in the blast is the greatest blessing of all.

“I know everyone is hearing about the ‘miracle on Worthington Street’ but it really was,” Lee said.

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