At least 18 people were injured, the Boston Globe reported. No one was reported killed and police said none of the injuries were life-threatening.
The explosion at Scores Gentlemen's Club shook the city at 5:25 p.m., about an hour after gas company workers evacuated much of the area because of a strong odor suggesting a leak. Debbie, a Scores dancer, said she was on stage when she was told to get out with just enough time to change into street clothes.
The Scores building was demolished and about a dozen others were heavily damaged, police said. The blast broke windows for several blocks around.
Victor Bruno, owner of the nearby Adolfo's Restaurant, described the blast as "just a mushroom cloud of an explosion -- big and orange.'' He said the neighborhood was relatively empty because of the Thanksgiving weekend and because restaurants and clubs in the area had not begun filling up.
The Square One daycare center was closed because of the Thanksgiving weekend, The (Springfield) Republican reported. Square One Vice President Kimberley Lee said that on a normal weekday many of the center's 100 children and 30 staff would have been on the premises at the time.
Lee said the center may have to move temporarily.
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