Body Found In Rubble Of Restaurant That Exploded

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (February 20, 2013)--Search crews found a body Wednesday in the rubble of a Kansas City restaurant destroyed by an explosion, the city’s mayor, Sly James, said.

James did not say whether the person was a man or a woman.

Authorities were looking for a woman who worked at JJ's restaurant and was reported missing after the explosion Tuesday evening.

They previously said she was the only person still unaccounted for following the explosion and fire, but James said Wednesday morning at a news conference that authorities can't be sure that every person who may have been at the restaurant has been accounted for.

He said 15 people were injured in the blast and fire.

Six are still hospitalized, and nine have been released.

The city's fire chief says the precise cause of the gas leak is still under investigation.

Firefighters received a call less than an hour before the explosion reporting that a construction worker had hit a gas line near the restaurant.

It's not clear how hard firefighters or utility officials worked to evacuate the restaurant after gas was first noticed.

The mayor and the fire chief say the fire department deferred to the gas utility, because it had more expertise in assessing the situation.

A doctor who works at a medical practice next to the restaurant told The Kansas City Star that a gas company employee entered the building just before 6 p.m. and recommended evacuating.

The blast happened at around 6 p.m., when the dinner crowd would have been filing into JJ's and the many other restaurants in the upscale shopping and dining district at Country Club Plaza.

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