Police have reported that more than 12 people were hurt, three critically, after a massive fire broke out at a Kansas City, Missouri, shopping plaza on Tuesday, February 19. Sources such as Fox News and Reuters revealed that a contractor hit an underground natural gas line that resulted in a large explosion and subsequent fast-spreading flames.
The morning after the fire, law enforcement officials and rescue crews called upon cadaver dogs to see if any there were any survivors at JJ’s Restaurant in Country Club Plaza. It is still unclear whether that search has turned up anything, however, Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said he would be surprised if no bodies were found.
“I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this,” he said. He went on to say that a female employee from the area has not yet been found.
Initially investigators thought that the blaze was the result of a car accident. However, Missouri Gas Energy, the company that provides gas to Kansas City, published a statement reading “early indications are that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line.”
The initial blast was so powerful that it reportedly broke windows, damaged nearby apartments and shook the ground like an earthquake.
Although it is still unclear whether JJ’s was equipped with a commercial fire alarm system, it is obvious that this type of protection can save lives. If your company does not have a fire alarm monitoring or has one that isn’t working, make sure that you contact your installation company as soon as possible. Failing to do so can be fatal and can result in fines when your workplace is inspected by federal safety officials.