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Gas explosion levels building, injures 8 in Springfield, Mass.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - An explosion triggered by a gas leak destroyed a building in downtown Springfield Friday, injuring at least eight people although none seriously, police said.

Springfield Police Captain William Collins said the building, a gentleman's club, exploded about 5:25 p.m. as the gas company was looking for a leak under the road.

"The whole building is completely gone," Collins told Reuters by telephone. "The building was leveled ... there was extensive damage to a building across the street."

Eight people injured in the explosion were taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, but none was in critical condition, said hospital spokesman Jane Albert.

The medical center did not expect to receive any more people injured in the explosion, Albert said.

Images on a local CBS affiliate showed buildings with shattered windows, debris scattered in the street, and emergency services entering the area.

A representative of the Columbia Gas company told television station 22News that two employees had been injured in the explosion, but were both expected to survive. Columbia Gas could not be reached for comment.

Witnesses described to local media a massive explosion that shook the ground and sent up a huge cloud of smoke.

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