Marshal: Human error caused gas blast

Nov. 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Human error caused last week's gas explosion in Springfield, Mass., that destroyed a strip club, damaged other buildings and injured 19 people, officials said.

Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen Coan's office said in a statement issued Sunday the blast at Scores Gentleman's Club occurred Friday when a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts worker investigating a gas odor accidentally punctured a high-pressure line at the building's foundation, The Boston Globe reported.

"His examination appears to have been an appropriate distance from where older markings on the sidewalk indicated where the gas line was," Coan's statement said. "However, the markings were incorrect" and the worker's probe accidentally punctured the gas line.

The blast damaged dozens of buildings and displaced hundreds of people.

"The investigative team believes that the gas from the leak entered the building around the pipe and at some point reached the correct explosive level of gas and air, which was ignited by any of many possible ignition sources inside the building," the fire marshal's statement said.

Daniel D. Kelly, a lawyer for Scores, told the Globe the club was reviewing its legal options, which he said would include "everything."

The Department of Public Utilities has taken over the investigation. Spokesman Reginald Zimmerman said investigators will try to determine whether Columbia Gas had all of the necessary safety measures in place when the line exploded.

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