The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 24, 2012

Gas blast levels Mass. strip club

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A natural gas explosion in one of New England’s biggest cities on Friday leveled a strip club with a boom heard for miles and heavily damaged a dozen other buildings but didn’t kill anyone, authorities said.

Firefighters, police officers and gas company workers in the area because of an earlier gas leak and odor report were among the 18 people injured in the blast, authorities said.

“This is a miracle on Worthington Street that no one was killed,” Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said at a press conference.

The explosion in Springfield, 90 miles west of Boston, blew out all windows in a three-block radius, leaving three buildings irreparably damaged and prompting emergency workers to evacuate a six-story apartment building that was buckling, police said.

Police Sgt. John Delaney marveled at the destruction at the blast’s epicenter, where a multistory building housing a Scores Gentleman’s Club, evacuated earlier because of the gas leak, was leveled.

“It looks like there was a missile strike here,” he said.

The victims were taken to two hospitals in the city. None of their injuries was considered life-threatening, officials said. Those hurt were nine firefighters, two police officers, four Columbia Gas of Massachusetts workers, two civilians and another city employee.

Firefighters responded to the scene at 4:20 p.m. and were investigating the gas leak when the blast happened about one hour later. The cause of the explosion hadn’t been identified but was under investigation, they said.

Springfield, which has about 150,000 residents, is the largest city in western Massachusetts. It’s known as the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is not in the vicinity of the blast.

The city has been rebuilding from damage it sustained in a June 2011 tornado.

The explosion happened in an area of downtown Springfield with commercial properties and residences. Area resident Wayne Davis, who lives about a block away from the destroyed strip club building, said he felt his apartment shake.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Organizers confident of safe race

    BOSTON — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week....

    April 17, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Supremacist faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday....

    April 16, 2014

  • Iran cuts nuclear weapons ability

    VIENNA — The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade ...

    April 16, 2014

  • People with old Social Security debts get reprieve

    WASHINGTON — People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve — for now....

    April 16, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark anniversary

    BOSTON — Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Questions linger year after bombs

    BOSTON — A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded....

    April 15, 2014

  • Feds abruptly end roundup

    Federal land managers abruptly ended the roundup of cattle on public land in southern Nevada owned by a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority, citing a “serious concern” for the safety of employees and the public....

    April 13, 2014

  • Calif. crash probe includes limiting bus fires

    ORLAND, Calif. — A new twist was added to the investigation of a crash involving a tour bus and FedEx tractor-trailer that killed 10 people when a couple said the big rig already was on fire when it careened across a median and sideswiped ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Disappointment, forgiveness mix in La.

    MONROE, La. — To Louisiana voters accustomed to tawdry scandals involving elected officials, disappointment with an eye toward forgiveness is the prevailing sentiment about their new congressman, caught on video embracing an aide married ...

    April 13, 2014