At least 14 people were injured, some critically, and authorities fear there may still be some deaths after a gas explosion leveled a restaurant in Kansas City. A natural gas leak triggered the explosion around dinner time on Tuesday night, destroying the building and sparking a massive fire that burned for several hours. Police have brought in cadaver-sniffing dogs to search through the rubble of J.J.'s restaurant in the Country Club Plaza shopping district.
Witnesses said they noticed the smell of gas before the explosion happened, and it may have possibly been related to a nearby construction project. Utility workers were already on the scene to inspect the leak when the explosion happened, and had even begun to evacuate some of the surrounding area. Employees at the restaurant had even begun to cancel evening reservations, which may have kept more potential victims from filling the place up. The blast could be heard several blocks away, and a woman in a nearby building told the Kansas City Star that “It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake."
At least three of the victims were considered to be in critical condition at local hospitals, after suffering extensive burns and trauma. One employee of the restaurant is still missing, and maybe in the wreckage. Another woman who was missing for some time, was found alive and taken to the hospital.