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Columbia Gas Establishes Hotline, Center to Help Explosion Victims

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – The gas company involved in Friday’s explosion has now set up a phone number and center to help people that may have been impacted from the blast.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Steven Bryant says that their employee was following standard company procedure when he responded to the smell of gas Friday afternoon on Worthington Street.

Investigators had released initial findings that determined that “human error” by a Columbia Gas worker led to the destructive blast.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says that that worker smelled gas near the building, but found none inside.

As part of the search of the smell, that worker used a metal probe and made holes into the ground to measure gas. That probe inadvertently struck a gas line, allowing gas to build and later causing the explosion.

Bryant adds that in their forty years in business, they have never seen anything like what happened on Friday. He adds that he is “blessed” that the employee had the right of mind to order an evacuation of the building and that the evacuation order was “appropriate.”’

Columbia Gas continues to assist state and local officials as the cleanup and investigation proceeds, and is now working to help people who may have suffered property damage from the explosion.

Anyone impacted by the blast can call Columbia Gas at (800) 869-1876 and press ‘1’ to file a claim with the company.

Columbia Gas will also be establishing a claims processing center in Room 222 of Springfield City Hall beginning Monday. That center will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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