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(NECN: Scot Yount - Springfield, Mass.) - A miracle on Worthington Street.
On the morning after a huge blast that could be felt for miles, police, fire investigators and public safety officials are trying to piece together what caused the gas explosion.
It originated here at the Scores nightclub. Minutes beforehand, gas inspectors got high readings and called for an all-out evacuation. It was just in time.
"It was a close call,” said Dennis Leger of the Springfield Fire Department.
A total of 18 people were transported to area hospitals, nine of those first-responding fire fighters.
"I saw them -- they were all on the ground,” Leger said. “I was fearing for the worst, and then slowly, they started to get up and started to take care of each other and the calls for the ambulances went in right away, the second alarm and all that.”
At this point, the city has blocked off some five city blocks. Businesses and homes are damaged and many people remain evacuated.
Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno was downtown right when it happened.
"Massive explosion and plume that went into the air, and I immediately ran down a couple blocks and windows were smashed all over,” Sarno said. “Again, I can't say enough about the first responders and police and fire, and how they reacted to the situation.”