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Mass. natural gas explosion damaged 42 buildings; cause of blast that hurt 18 being probed

Building inspectors assessing homes and businesses in western Massachusetts' largest city after a natural gas explosion says the blast damaged more than 40 buildings.

The Friday evening explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care. It injured 18 people, many of them emergency workers. Their injuries aren't life-threatening.

The explosion occurred an hour after gas company workers arrived to investigate a possible gas leak in the area that's 90 miles west of Boston.

Authorities cordoned off the center of the explosion Saturday. Building inspectors say preliminary findings showed the blast damaged 42 buildings housing 115 residential units. Three buildings were immediately condemned.

Punta Cana restaurant manager Omar Fermin says the explosion shattered the business' floor-to-ceiling windows and made the area look like an earthquake zone.