Officials still looking for cause of Springfield explosion - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Officials still looking for cause of Springfield explosion

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

As soon as the sun came through Saturday morning, officials from the city and state began to assess the damage from Friday night's natural gas explosion.

"It is a little better than I thought it would be actually," said Thomas Gatzunis, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

Gatzunis was one of many officials on the ground assessing the impact of the explosion that leveled Scores gentlemen's club.

Officials inspected 62 buildings Saturday that surround the explosion site.

While the club was leveled, other buildings that are both residential and business properties suffered varied levels of damage.

Columbia Gas said it is still not clear what caused the explosion, but any number of things could have been the trigger.

"If there is a certain level of gas to air mixture, then it is in the explosive level," said Sheila Doiron, spokesperson for Columbia Gas. "At that point, any ignition source can set the detonation. That could be a spark, a telephone ringing, a door bell."

Doiron stated the only service to be cut in the past two days was the service to Scores and all other lines in the city have remained operational the entire time.

While there was no loss of life with the blast, by Saturday afternoon 20 firefighters had gone to the hospital.

All are home as of Saturday night, but the injuries were more intense than originally thought.

"Springfield Fire Department sustained substantial hits Friday night," Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant said. "We had two firefighters with serious burns to the face and head. Others with orthopedic problems that will be out for a serious amount of time."

Businesses in the entertainment district remain closed Saturday night, but the city said it is a priority to get the operations back up and running.

"The first thing we need to make sure of is the businesses that are here will remain here," said Kevin Kennedy, Springfield's chief economic development officer. "We will do everything we can in an assistance point of view to work with them."

During Saturday's press conference, officials said some residents who were evacuated could be allowed back into their buildings by Monday or Tuesday.

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