SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The city of Springfield has become a well-oiled machine when it comes to disaster response.
After 14 hours of work on Saturday, much of the shattered glass that had sprayed the downtown streets has been cleared, and 90 percent of the streets that had to be closed are now open to traffic.
Just one day after Thanksgiving, the city of Springfield had something else to be thankful for: no one was killed or seriously hurt when a massive natural gas explosion blasted the entertainment district. Now the long road to recovery begins in a community that's already suffered its share of disasters.
When crews got to work at the crack of dawn Saturday morning they first had to establish the exact boundaries of the blast zone. Then state police took over that area so the city could focus on boarding up those shattered windows and reopening streets to traffic.
The explosion left many downtown residents homeless, but thanks to crews' rapid response Saturday hopefully it won't be for long.
"Some of those numbers are going to come down rapidly from the 150 units we're looking at that are condemned, probably within the next day. Hopefully we'll be down 50 percent of that within the next 24 hours. Maybe even lower than that by Monday," Steven Desilets said.
The Pioneer Valley Red Cross provided food and drink to emergency responders to support them in their efforts Friday night and throughout Saturday; and they're also extending support to those who have been displaced.
"There's been a multi agency service center set up at 436 Dwight Street. That's a federal building and several agencies are there for anyone who has been affected to come and see what resources are available to them," Dawn Leaks told 22News.
And just as quickly as some people might move back into their homes, property managers are scurrying to return to business as usual.
"When people are in need the city pulls together. We'll get them back on their feet. We're hoping to get most of them back in their spaces, maybe in a condensed area but back in their spaces by Monday morning," Barry Lessard said
That Red Cross multi agency service center for anyone affected by the explosion again is at 436 Dwight Street. It's open from 10am until 4pm Sunday. The Red Cross will also be on site with things like gloves, masks and brooms and residents begin moving back into their homes.