Explosion causes multiple injuries
A still image taken from a KHSB-TV video footage shows fire engines and emergency officials near the scene of the fire at Kansas City, Missouri today
A massive gas explosion in an upmarket US shopping district injured at least 14 people early today.
The blast destroyed JJ’s restaurant in Kansas City. Authorities are investigating what caused it.
Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte said they do not yet know if anyone was killed in the incident.
He said there was a gas leak followed by an explosion, and it was believed it may have stemmed from an accident involving a utility contractor. Earlier police spokeswoman Rhonda Flores said it appeared that a car had crashed into a gas main near JJ’s.
People have been cleared from the area around the restaurant.
Five victims were being at the University of Kansas Hospital, with two of them in serious condition and one in critical condition, said Bob Hallinan, a hospital spokesman. They had been injured by debris, not burned, Hallinan said. The hospital expected to receive a burn victim from another hospital, he said.
A physician at St. Luke's Hospital said at a news conference that it had two victims in critical condition, one with severe burns and one with severe cuts, and six others who had walked in for treatment.
Speaking to reporters near the scene of the blaze, David Frantze, the brother of the restaurant's owner, described a sober sight. "To come down here and see a hole in the ground, the flames, is a pretty staggering experience," he said.
The fire at the restaurant, which is near Country Club Plaza, an outdoor shopping and dining district, burned for more than an hour.