Officials are investigating the circumstances around what may have led to a Springfield strip club exploding, after a natural gas leak leveled the building, causing damage to dozens of businesses in the immediate area and sending several first responders to the hospital with injuries.
According to MassLive.com, dancers at The Scores in Springfield, on Worthington Street, said they smelled gas for “awhile,” prior to the massive explosion that completely wrecked the building, sending a shock-wave through the city’s entertainment district late Friday night.
MassLive.com reports that “Debbie,” a dancer at the gentleman’s club, said she was on stage dancing when the “house mom” ordered everyone out of the building.
After smelling gas on Friday night, the employer went up to the room where the dancers were gathered and told them “I don’t care if you’re (expletive) naked or not, get out,” according to initial reports.
Officials cleared the entertainment district about an hour before the building was destroyed, after receiving calls about the smell of gasoline in the area, according to reports.
The incident sent more than 18 people to the hospital, including 9 firefighters, but nobody was killed in the blast. Storefronts within a 3-block radius sustained damage due to the large explosion.
“This is a miracle on Worthington Street that no one was killed,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray, during a press conference Friday night.
Officials said on Saturday that it could be days before they figure out what caused the building to blow up. Building inspectors were on scene investigating the situation.
The photo below, taken by Rich Messina and Tweeted out, shows the aftermath of the explosion in Springfield the following morning. Messina said the photo was from the back of the building, facing Worthington Street.
Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno issued a statement on Saturday letting residents impacted by the destruction know that they could seek food, clothing, and help finding a place to stay through the city’s “Triage housing assistance.” A shelter was also set up at one of Springfield’s high schools.
As the investigation continues, assistance for businesses affected by the explosion was made available through the Office of Planning and Economic Development, according to Sarno.