Springfield residents reminded of 2012 gas explosion after Merrimack Valley incident

Hampden County
Springfield_gas_explosion_history_0_20180914230019

The explosions in eastern Massachusetts have served as a reminder of the Springfield gas explosion six years ago.

Eighteen people were injured in 2012, including nine firefighters when a natural gas explosion destroyed multiple buildings on Worthington Street.

“I was on the corner of Worthington and Spring Street and all of a sudden a big explosion went off,” said Tina Boberek of Springfield. “It was loud. Because of the explosion and the shaking I was thrown to the ground. It was scary. You never think it’s going to hit close to home, but it does.”

The blast totally leveled one building and could be heard and felt as far away as South Hadley. But in the Springfield explosion, nearby buildings had already been evacuated by the time the blast occurred because of the heavy odor of natural gas.

A Columbia Gas employee looking into reports of a gas leak in the area, accidentally pierced an underground pipe, causing gas to build up in one of the Worthington Street buildings until it blew up.  

Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a statement Friday that he has directed the fire commissioner, public works director, and others set up a meeting with Columbia Gas officials.

The goal is to reassure residents that maintenance efforts in the city are ongoing.

Some residents and state lawmakers are upset that Columbia Gas waited hours before they issued a statement Thursday.

In light of the explosions in the Merrimack Valley, State Senator Eric Lesser issued a statement Friday calling on the Department of Public Utilities to conduct a statewide investigation of Columbia Gas operations. Sen. Lesser also stated:

There are active projects going on around the piping infrastructure throughout the state, including a potential metering station in Longmeadow. I don’t think those projects can happen until we get an explanation from Columbia Gas on how they’re going to keep our communities safe.

22News I-Team reporter Tamara Sacharczyk called, emailed, and went to Columbia gas, to try and get answers.

22News has yet to hear back from them.

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