SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - After taking responsibility for a devastating explosion on Worthington Street, Columbia Gas is now preparing to pay up.
Monday, they began the process of taking claims and determining how much damage was done.
The Scores Gentleman's Club is now rubble and at least two other buildings, including the Square One Day Care Center are total losses.
Waleska Bilbrault was forced out of her apartment on Chestnut Street.
She explained, "I was so scared and shocked when I went into my apartment and everything was down. I lost my clothes and all the stuff that I had in my house."
Bilbrault was one of the dozens who showed up to the Columbia Gas claims center at Springfield City Hall hoping to get help to replace her destroyed belongings.
Vickie Phillips-Chiz had a storage locker filled with belongings that was within the blast area.
She said, "Trying to replace your personal items, things that are not replaceable, I had things stored for Passover and Hanukkah, those things are not replaceable."
Columbia Gas expects at least 200 people will file claims for damage and loss.
Columbia Gas Spokeswoman Sheila Doiron told 22News, "Once the state fire marshal came out with the finding that it was the responsibility of the company and the puncture that was made in trying to detect the gas was the instance that caused the gas to go into the building, that's the end of the story as far as what caused the explosion. "
Columbia Gas maintains that the worker who accidentally drilled a hole in the gas line was following protocol.
In emergencies, they use their line of sight to determine where the gas lines are.
Doiron explained, "Most instances, the line of sight from the gas valve to where the line enters the building is usually a straight line, but for some reason this very specific particular gas line was offset a little bit just so that it was not where he anticipated it."
The Insurance Center of New England's Bill Trudeau told 22News you can't file a claim with the gas company and then file an insurance claim.
It's important for those impacted to weigh both options before taking an offer.