A massive explosion destroyed a strip club and levelled an entire city block in western Massachusetts, scattering glass shards and bricks early Friday night.
The explosion happened after a gas leak in the area, which was reported around 4:20 P.M.
The loud boom, which came just after 5:00, could be heard and felt as far away as Hardwick, Granby, Belchertown, and Monson. In downtown, the explosion sent a huge cloud of smoke into the air, and people standing nearby were knocked to their feet.
The Scores gentlemen's club was destroyed in the explosion.
Scores was closed on Friday, sparing exotic dancers [as depicted by Carrie Keagan in the animated GIF above- NANESB!] from any immediate harm. Police and fire were reportedly already on the scene when the explosion took place. Although the blast injured 18 people, officials said there were no fatalities- many of the injured were firefighters and the area was already in the process of being evacuated.
Mayor Dominic Sarno and Massachusetts Lt Gov Tim Murray were attending a tree-lighting ceremony across town when the explosion took place. State Fire marshall Stephen Coan said that his agency would be responsible for investigating the cause of the blast.
Springfield is Western Massachusetts' largest city and is perhaps best known as being the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Theodore Geisel- who would go on to be the author known as Dr Seuss. Some portions of the city are still rebuilding from a tornado that ripped through the city in June 2011.