Several People Injured in Kansas City Shopping Center Blast

Published 02/20 2013 10:29AM

Updated 02/20 2013 10:32AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -  More than a dozen people were injured, at least three critically, at a Kansas City shopping center Tuesday night after authorities say a contractor struck an underground natural gas line that sparked a large explosion and fast-spreading fire. 

On Wednesday morning, authorities used cadaver dogs to assist with their search for survivors at JJ's Restaurant in Country Club Plaza.

"I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this," Paul Berardi, the Kansas City Fire Chief, said. He said one person was reported missing. The person is a female employee in the area.

The cause of the fire was initially believed to have been a nearby car accident. But on Wednesday, Missouri Gas Energy, the utility that supplies the area, said in a statement that "early indications are that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line." reports that witnesses said the explosion was like an earthquake. The station said there were reports of blown-out windows and minor damage inside apartments near the blast.

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