JJ’s explosion update: Heartland Midwest digging without permit

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JJ's fire in Feb 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The news just keeps getting worse and worse for Heartland Midwest. That’s the Olathe contractor who Kansas City officials confirm was digging near JJ’s restaurant at the time of last week’s deadly explosion.

Assistant City Manager Pat Klein confirmed Monday that Heartland Midwest did not have the proper city permits for the work it was doing at the time of the explosion that leveled JJ’s restaurant and killed one person.

FOX 4 has learned Heartland Midwest attempted to request a permit the day after the explosion.

As previously reported, Heartland was drilling underground in front of JJ’s to extend fiber optic cable to a nearby office building.

The city tells FOX 4 Problem Solvers that an excavation permit is required for that type of work, but one was never issued, meaning the city was unaware that the drilling was taking place.

However, FOX 4 Problem Solvers has learned that a request was made to the gas company to mark gas lines, that’s according to a spokesman for Missouri Gas Energy.

When FOX 4 Problem Solvers first contacted Heartland last week about the explosion a woman in the company’s office denied that the company was doing excavation work.

On Monday, an employee at Heartland Midwest referred all questions to company spokesman Brad Russell. But when we told Mr. Russell why we were calling, he said he was busy and hung up the phone.

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