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Strip club explosion injures 18 and wrecks neighbourhood in Massachusetts city

26 November 2012

An explosion on the afternoon of November 23 levelled a two-story strip club in Springfield, Massachusetts, and seriously damaged up to 41 surrounding buildings. A total of 18 were injured in the explosion at Scores Gentleman's Club, including nine firefighters, two police officers, four utility workers, two civilians and a city employee.

On November 25, the state fire marshal said the cause was a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts utility worker puncturing a pipe while responding to reports of a gas leak at the site. 

The utility said it  would compensate businesses, residents and the city for the cost of damages caused by the explosion.

Officials had evacuated part of the entertainment district after responding to a gas leak and odour reported about an hour before the explosion. Gas workers venting a gas leak became aware that the building was about to explode and ducked for cover behind a utility truck along with firefighters and police officers just before the blast. Most of the injured were in that group, and the truck that saved their lives was destroyed, according to fire authorities.

Preliminary reports show the blast damaged 42 buildings housing 115 residential units. Three buildings were immediately condemned, and 24 others require additional inspections by structural engineers to determine whether they are safe.

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