Blast flattens buildings in US city

04:16, Nov 24 2012
Springfield gas explosion
Blown out windows in a building across the road from the strip club.
Springfield gas explosion
A building in ruins after a gas explosion in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Springfield gas explosion
Firefighters and rescue crews line the streets in downtown Springfield.
Springfield gas explosion
Officials survey damage in the rubble of the destroyed building.

US officials say a natural gas explosion in one of New England's biggest cities levelled a strip club and heavily damaged a dozen other buildings but didn't kill anyone.

Firefighters, police officers and gas company workers in the area because of an earlier gas leak report were among the 18 people injured in the Springfield blast, authorities said.

"This is a miracle ... that no one was killed," Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray said at a press conference.

The explosion blew out all windows in a three-block radius, leaving three more buildings beyond repair and prompting emergency workers to evacuate a six-story apartment building that was buckling.

It looked as though there had been "a missile strike," police said.

The victims were taken to two hospitals in the city. None of their injuries was considered life-threatening, officials said.

Firefighters were investigating a gas leak when the blast happened.

Resident Wayne Davis said he felt his apartment building shake a block away.

The Navy veteran said the boom was louder than anything he'd ever heard, including the sound of a jet landing on an aircraft carrier.

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