Restaurant Explodes in Street Inferno, Injuring 16S

A huge natural gas explosion—"like an earthquake," one witness said—burned a Kansas City restaurant to the ground yesterday evening, injuring 16, some critically, and leaving one person unaccounted for. Authorities believe a contractor working near JJ's Restaurant, a three-decade institution overlooking Kansas City's iconic Country Club Plaza, hit a natural gas line, and people reported a strong odor of gas in the area—so strong JJ's employees cancelled reservations, shut down the kitchen, and asked patrons to leave the restaurant—hours before the 6 p.m. explosion shattered nearby windows and sent shockwaves nearly a mile through the city. One woman is still missing, and Kansas City police are using cadaver dogs to search for her. Some 100 fire fighters responded to the four-alarm fire; it was under control by 8 p.m. [Kansas City Star | KCTV]