Fifteen people have been injured and one person has been killed in a gas explosion that ignited a blaze covering an entire city block in Kansas City. JJ’s restaurant, a popular eatery in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, was destroyed in the sudden, tragic explosion.
The cause of the gas blast has yet to be officially determined, but early reports point to a piece of heavy machinery colliding with the gas line, causing the leak that eventually burst into flames. Witnesses reported smelling gas at least an hour before the fatal blast, but crews were unable to pinpoint the source and prevent the explosion. Local firefighters were alerted to the possibility of the gas leak as well, but according to current reports nothing was done other than to discuss the possibility of a gas leak with Missouri Gas Energy.
Some likened the gas-fueled explosion to an earthquake – windows far from the epicenter were rattled by the blowout.
There has only been one confirmed fatality from the explosion thus far, although there are at least a few people listed in critical condition at local hospitals. Emergency responders uncovered the remains but have not yet identified who the person was.
Crews have been searching the rubble since the explosion, looking for any signs of survivors that have not yet been rescued. A winter storm is forecasted for the area tonight and rescue crews hope to confirm that everyone has been freed from the former JJ’s who could be.
Source: ABC News, “Kansas City Gas Explosion: 1 Body Found, 15 Injured as Restaurant Is Destroyed,” February 20, 2013