Restaurant owner ‘devastated’ by fire, death of employee

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jimmy Frantze had to drive four hours from Oklahoma City Tuesday night after getting the phone call JJ’s was on fire — and is “devastated” to learn one of his employees lost her life.

DRAMATIC VIDEO: Surveillance camera catches blast on tape

He showed up at 7 a.m. Wednesday hoping to take a look at what remained.

Frantze described it was like a piece of his heart and soul that’s now gone.

“I’ve been here for 28 years and many of my employees have been here for over 20 years,” he said.

Firefighters wouldn’t let him too close, but Frantze said it’s obvious something went radically wrong for his building to blow up hours after workers first began smelling gas.

He said he’s spoken to most of his employees who escaped or went to the hospital. And, like him, are especially torn up by the news of the body of a 45-year-old waitress was found in the rubble Wednesday morning.

“She was a part of this family,” he said. “This restaurant, everybody that worked here was part of this family and this is a devastating situation.”

However, one of the toughest decisions he said may soon be months away.

When asked if he wanted to rebuild, he said “I don’t know.”

“This is day one. We just start from here. We’re dealing with a loss — we’re dealing with the loss of a human being. We’re dealing with the loss of a business — so I’m not sure where we’re going to go.”

While officials have yet to positively identify the person killed in the fire, Megan Cramer’s family released a statement Wednesday for her daughter who remains missing since the fire.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: JJ’s Restaurant blast, fire

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