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Cadaver dogs searching smoldering remains of Kansas City explosion site

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Courtesy: KCTV Courtesy: KCTV
Courtesy: KCTV Courtesy: KCTV
Courtesy: KCTV Courtesy: KCTV

UPDATE:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Cadaver dogs are searching the smoldering remains of a Kansas City restaurant that burned to the ground following a gas explosion and massive blaze, a fire official says.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said late Tuesday that the search for possible victims could take hours and that he expected his crews to be at the scene through the night.

While officials have said they have no reports of fatalities, Berardi noted, "I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this."

The gas explosion occurred just after 6 p.m. and the resulting fire completely destroyed JJ's restaurant. Officials say more than a dozen people were injured, with at least two reported in critical condition.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation; however, a city official earlier said it was believed to have been caused accidentally by a utility contractor.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An official says 14 people have been confirmed as injured in a massive gas explosion in an upscale Kansas City shopping district.

Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte says officials don't yet know if anyone was killed in the explosion, which destroyed JJ's restaurant.

Authorities also are still trying to determine the full cause of the blast. Schulte says they do know there was a gas leak followed by an explosion. At this point, he says authorities believe it may have stemmed from an accident involving a utility contractor.

Earlier police spokeswoman Rhonda Flores said it appeared that a car crashed into a gas main near JJ's just after 6 p.m.

People have been cleared from the area around the restaurant.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


ORIGINAL:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police say seven or eight people have been injured in the gas main explosion and fire at a restaurant in a Kansas City shopping district.

Police Sgt. Tony Sanders said the manager of JJ's restaurant also has told police three people are unaccounted for, but he doesn't know if they left before the explosion.

Sanders says a few of those injured have been taken to hospitals.

A car crashed into a gas main Tuesday evening in an upscale Kansas City shopping district, sparking a massive blaze that engulfed an entire block and caused multiple injuries, police said.

Police spokeswoman Rhonda Flores said it appeared that a car crashed into a gas main near a restaurant at 6:03 p.m. Flores said injuries were reported but that she did not know how many or how severe. She noted an initial call for three ambulances had been increased to 10. She said she had not heard of any reported fatalities. Flores said the car crash appeared to have been accidental.

Kerry O'Connor, a spokeswoman for St. Luke's Hospital, which is near the scene of the fire, said several patients were on the way to the hospital. She said they haven't been assessed yet but "they appear to be critical at this time."

Fire officials didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday evening.

The smell of gas was very strong near the area long after the suspected explosion.

Video showed dozens of firefighters and other emergency responders battling a massive blaze that appeared to have engulfed an entire block, with flames burning through the roofs. Black smoke swirled in the air and debris littered surrounding streets.

The shopping area was established in 1922 by J.C. Nichols. Based on the architecture of Seville, Spain, it includes retail, restaurants, apartments and offices.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)