Witnesses share stories of JJ’s Restaurant explosion in Kansas City

Posted on: 10:51 am, February 20, 2013, by , updated on: 01:27pm, February 20, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Witnesses to Tuesday gas explosion at JJ’s Restaurant shared their stories with FOX 4 minutes after the blast. Many reported windows shaking — or exploding — as far as a block away. Watch the video to hear their stories.

Firefighters recovered a body from the rubble on Wednesday morning. Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said the remains have not be positively identified. Fifteen others were injured. One woman — an employee of JJ’s — remains unaccounted for.

Chief Berardi said he has been in touch with the missing woman’s family.

“Our sympathy goes out to them,” he said. “We know this is a difficult time for them to wait through this process, and while we do have people on the scene right now, we know we’ve done what we can to search that immediate area with cadaver dogs.

“This is going to be a long, arduous task to sift through the rubble carefully so we don’t do any additional damage and we respect what remains we may find in there.”

While Berardi said the investigation into the blast continues, Missouri Gas and Energy released a statement Tuesday night stating in part, “Early indications are that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line, but the investigation continues.”

Related: Pictures from scene of explosion

Prior to the explosion, some had reported smelling gas in the area. One man who lived in a nearby apartment complex said his building manager said there was nothing to worry about.

“No sooner than when he shut the door, we heard a massive explosion,” he said. “Sure enough, we come outside and right behind our building JJ’s steakhouse is up in flames.”

Minutes before the explosion, employees at JJ’s Restaurant and MGE were in the process of evacuating the building. It’s unclear how many people were in or near the restaurant at the time of the explosion.


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