SPRINGFIELD, MA (CNN/WGGB) - It is now know human error caused a Friday night explosion in Springfield, Massachusetts. Officials explained more on the explosion that leveled a downtown strip club.
Finally, some answers as to what caused Friday evening's Worthington Street explosion, during a press conference at the Springfield Fire Department. State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan says, "There's that initial call for the odor of gas reported inside the building. That is not the cause of this explosion. The cause is directly related to -- as part of that investigation -- the actions of the commonwealth gas employee by use of that probe in penetrating that gas main."
Springfield Fire Department Commissioner Joseph Conat says, "The call approximately came in at 4:00 p.m.. 4:09, I believe, the gas company arrived on scene. He started his investigation. About 4:20, the hole was punctured in the pipe. They called for additional crews from Baystate Gas and fire response, and then approximately...I don't know the time frame of when they actually shut the gas off, but at 5:25 was the approximate time of the explosion."
The employee was checking the gas lines outside when the pipe he punctured was off-set from the other valves. He didn't know that, and when he punctured that pipe, the gas started to rush out. That's when he called for the evacuation.
Stephen Bryant, president of Columbia Gas, is not calling downtown secure just yet. He says, "We found one leak and repaired that leak. I'm not willing to say at this moment there is no other leak in the general area."
The Department of Public Utilities is continuing the investigation, and the company accepts liabitlity for the explosion and any legal issues that come next. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says, "That's what we leave up to our legal experts but I have to say that Columbia Gas has stepped it up. They have admitted responsibility. They want to move quickly."
Bryant says, "The legal ramifications of that will be worked out. My view and our view collectively in Columbia, Massachusetts, is that we have a responsibility right now to step up and do whatever we can. We'll sort the legal issues out down the road."
There is no damage estimate yet, but officials speculate it's easily in the millions. The immediate area surrounding the explosion site is still taped off as the clean up and investigation continue.