SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - An investigation by the State Fire Marshall's office determined a Columbia Gas worker accidentally created a tiny hole in a gas line that led to a devastating explosion.
Massachusetts State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan said, "We have determined that human error… is what the cause of the explosion was."
The worker was called Friday afternoon to Worthington Street after reports of the smell of gas in the area.
Coan explained, "He began searching the outside of the building using a metal probe to make holes in order to measure gas."
That worker was unaware at the time he was drilling right into a gas line.
"His measuring seems to be at an appropriate distance from where old markings were on the sidewalk indicating where the gas line from the main went into the building; however, the markings were incorrect," Coan said.
Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant told 22News, it took Columbia Gas between 20 and 30 minutes to shut the gas off in the area.
In that time, enough had already built up in the Scores Gentlemen's Club that any small spark could have set off this explosion.
21 people were injured in the blast, Scores was leveled and at least 3 buildings were condemned.
The state's Department of Public Utilities is now leading the investigation into the response by Columbia Gas including why the markers indicating the location of the gas pipes were incorrect.
State Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan oversees the DPU.
He told 22News, "This will be a thorough investigation and it will be concluded quickly."
Because of the devastation to the Scores building, it may be impossible to determine what caused the original smell of gas.
As far as what sparked the explosion, because there was so much gas built up, it could have been anything from a light switch to a cell phone.