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Explosion Claims Process Begins at City Hall

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) –Things seemed to be moving pretty smoothly for folks filing claims at city hall.

It’s where Mayor Domenic Sarno allowed Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to set up so those who lost homes and businesses in Friday’s explosion could at least get started on the path to recovery. “These are people that went through a very profound experience a couple of days ago and we thought it was very important to get feet on the ground and step up right away to start providing some immediate assistance to them,” said Sheila Doiron is the director of community relations for the gas company.

Making good on their word, Columbia was also offering cash assistance to those who truly needed it, like families with small children, the elderly or disabled. “Many of the people who were displaced in Friday’s Blast lived in the Macintosh building, and those who were collecting claims today say it was a long road ahead to figure out exactly when they’ll be able to go back home.“We still haven’t been able to get back in. If we can’t go home tonight, we’ll probably go back to the Sheraton,” Candice Lopes said. “We know we don’t have food left, the electricity is off, nothing is good in there any more, it’s just like we can’t get in the building, they let us in to get some medication. I’ve been wearing the clothes I had since then. I’ve got no other clothes,” William Meadows.

Even though filing a claim serves as a temporary fix, Mayor Sarno warns that downtown buildings still need to be stabilized.

“We had 5 crews and the state inspectors marking them green, just like the traffic lights. If it’s green, you’re a go. If it’s yellow, proceed with caution, but you have to go in with an inspector. If it’s red, stay the hell away from the building. You’re not allowed to go in,”

Columbia Gas says they’ll be set up at City Hall as long as they have to, in order to satisfy all claims.

You can head to Room 222 tomorrow to file your claim, or to file a claim by phone call (800) 869 – 1876, and press 1.