Springfield explosion: Utility worker punctured pipe in gas blast

18 people injured, more than 40 buildings damaged

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- The state fire marshal says a gas company worker responding to reports of a natural gas leak in western Massachusetts punctured a pipe and an unknown spark ignited a massive explosion that injured 18 people.

Authorities on Sunday didn't name the Columbia Gas Go. worker who pierced the high-pressure pipe in Springfield, one of New England's largest cities. Friday's explosion there damaged more than 40 buildings.

Some officials called it a miracle that no one was killed. The cause of the spark that ignited the explosion is still unknown.

Most of the injured were part of a group of gas workers, firefighters and police officers who ducked for cover behind a utility truck just before the blast.

The gas company planned a news conference for later Sunday afternoon.

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