GAS EXPLOSION: Kansas City Restaurant Sparks Inferno Near Plaza

Posted on: 8:06 pm, February 19, 2013, by , updated on: 10:51pm, February 19, 2013

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A massive fire erupted after a gas explosion outside of a Kansas City restaurant Tuesday night.

Initial reports said a car hit a gas line and sparked the blaze at JJ’s restaurant in the Country Club Plaza at about 6 p.m. Officials now say they are uncertain if that was the cause.

CNN reports at least 19 people are hospitalized, including seven in critical condition and two in serious condition.

It is unknown how many people were inside the building at the time of the explosion.

At 10 p.m., firefighters said they were using cadaver dogs to check for the people unaccounted for.

“There was significant damage, and there are initial reports of injuries,” said James Garrett, a spokesman for the Kansas City Fire Department. He said there were no fatalities at the scene however some people have been reported missing.

The utility company sent a crew to investigate reports of the smell of gas in the area about an hour before the explosion tore through the restaurant. Nearby residents say about 30 minutes before the explosion, gas crews asked them to evacuate.