Large explosion reported in Massachusetts city

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 25 2012 10:13 AM | Updated as of Nov 25 2012 06:23 PM

WASHINGTON - An explosion thought to have been triggered by a gas leak leveled a bar in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, moments after dancers were warned to flee, local media reported.

WWLP TV quoted city officials as saying nine firefighters and a police officer were injured in the incident, which blew out windows two blocks away and knocked people to the ground.

The building housing the Scores Gentlemen's Club was flattened by the blast, the Republican newspaper said on its website. WWLP said two buildings were destroyed.

The immediate area around the bar had been evacuated shortly before the explosion by firefighters and gas company employees checking out a report of a gas leak.

Dancers at Scores told the Republican they were warned by a manager to clear out of the building, and were having a drink in a bar across the street when their workplace blew up.

A dancer who identified herself only as Deb said she was on stage dancing when a "house mom" told everyone to evacuate, according to the newspaper.

She said she saw smoke in the upstairs floor of the building as she was gathering her clothes.

At that point, she said, the manager told everyone: "I don't care if you're (expletive) naked or not, get out."

She said there had been a smell of gas all week, and that the gas company had been called but had found nothing.

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