SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Most of the damage from Friday night's gas explosion in downtown Springfield was sustained by commercial buildings, but there are residential units that are now unlivable because of the damage.
Several blocks of Worthington Street are a mess, with broken glass and bricks everywhere. The explosion leveled the now-former "SCORES" club, and damaged dozens of other buildings.
"The large debris field scattered over a couple of city blocks in all directions, so we'll want to clean that up," Springfield Code Enforcement Commissioner Steven Desilets said.
The damage evaluation and assessment kicks into high gear Saturday morning.
"First thing in the morning, we'll be putting together five teams, inspection teams. That's going to involve building, plumbing, electrical, and housing inspectors," Desilets said.
He said that 40 units will have to be condemned, and that number could grow.
To ensure there is no further threat of explosion, Columbia Gas crews will fan out over the next two days to make sure there's no residual leaks or pockets of natural gas.
Part of this process will involve drilling directly into the streets.
"So I didn't want anybody to see Columbia Gas crews out there drilling holes and thinking there's a problem. It's merely a monitoring practice we're doing right now, and we'll drill holes in the street to see if there's any underground gas that we can detect," said Columbia Gas spokesperson Sheila Dorion.
Columbia Gas has already scanned several blocks near the impact area, and said they've found no measurable readings of gas.
Starting at 7:00 Saturday morning, the city will monitor two phone lines for people who are concerned about damage. Those numbers are (413) 787-6731 and (413) 787-6732.
In some cases, gas service will be turned off for downtown residents, and some tenants could lose their heat.