Earlier this evening in Springfield, Massachusetts, at roughly 4:20 PM, a gas leak was reported. 40 minutes later, a massive freak explosion rocked the area, destroying property and injuring 18 people. Springfield's WWLP News 22 reports:
A massive gas explosion destroyed a downtown Springfield bar, sent glass and bricks flying down Worthington Street, and injured several people, including nine Springfield firefighters and two police officers. Fortunately, all those injured are expected to survive.
"It really was a miracle on Worthington Street that no one was killed," Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray said during a news conference in Springfield Friday night.
Dozens of people have been forced from their homes due to the blast, and police are preventing any non-emergency personnel from getting near the blast area.[...]
The explosion happened after a gas leak in the area, which was reported around 4:20 P.M.
The loud boom, which came just after 5:00, could be heard and felt as far away as Hardwick, Granby, Belchertown, and Monson. In downtown, the explosion sent a huge cloud of smoke into the air, and people standing nearby were knocked to their feet.
The Scores gentlemen's club was destroyed in the explosion. The bar was not open for business at the time of the blast.
All Springfield fire companies reported to the area following the explosion, and ambulances from nearby communities like Agawam and Wilbraham were also called in. Shattered glass and bricks can be seen strewn on the sidewalks on Worthington Street. Windows were broken as far away as the Hampden Bank building on Harrison Avenue.
WWLP has also captured video of the event, which can be viewed below: