JJ's Restaurant

Up to Date
11:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

JJ's Update: One Year After The Explosion

It's been a year since an explosion destroyed JJ's Restaurant on the Plaza.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

Last February, a gas explosion rocked the Plaza, destroying JJ’s restaurant. In the wake of the destruction, 15 people were injured, and one died.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we’ll take a look at the issues surrounding the blast and its continued legacy, both on the Plaza and in the courtroom. We’ll also talk with one of the owners of JJ’s about what the future holds.

Guests:

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Tell KCUR
11:45 am
Wed February 19, 2014

What You Remember From The JJ’s Explosion

Where were you during the blast at JJ's Restaurant on Feb. 19, 2013? We asked our listeners to tweet us their answers with the #TellKCUR hashtag.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

One year ago, many Kansas Citians knew about a natural gas explosion at JJ’s Restaurant before news outlets began to report the story.

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the blast that hundreds of Kansas Citians saw firsthand or felt on the Country Club Plaza.  

We wanted to know more about what you remembered from that evening.

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Community
7:52 am
Wed February 19, 2014

One Year Later, Still No Final Chapter In JJ's Blast

Lawsuits and appeals plague the aftermath of the deadly explosion of JJ's restaurant on Country Club Plaza in midtown Kansas City.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

One year has passed since the explosion and fire at JJ's restaurant killed waitress Megan Cramer and injured 15 on the edge of Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.

Investigators have found fault in the blast, but legal action continues. Ten lawsuits are on file by people legally claiming damage in the natural gas explosion. Suits are not expected to go to trial for more than a year.

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Government
12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Report: Gas Company Didn't Follow Safety Regs in JJ's Explosion

Kansas City police and fire investigators stand outside JJ's Restaurant after the explosion on Feb. 19, 2013. (File photo)

Missouri Gas Energy failed to act urgently to protect the lives of people in JJ’s Restaurant last year, the Missouri Public Service Commission ruled Thursday.

The gas company violated its own safety rules that lead to an explosion that killed one woman and injured more than a dozen others and it should be fined, the 125-page report said.

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Government
8:09 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Findings Delayed In Probe Of Deadly JJ's Restaurant Explosion

A Missouri State agency has asked for more time to report findings on the deadly explosion at JJ’s Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. The findings are now expected nearly a year after the blast and fire.

A report had earlier been expected weeks ago.

A buildup of flammable natural gas exploded at the restaurant on the west side of the Country Club Plaza last Feb. 19. It killed one person, Megan Cramer, who worked at the restaurant.

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Government
5:46 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Charges Are Leveled, Denied 6 Months After Deadly KC Blast

Kansas City Police and fire investigators outside JJ's Restaurant after the February 19th, 2013 explosion-fire.
Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

The contract drilling company suspected of opening a gas line before JJ’s Restaurant blew up in February will fight OSHA sanctions and fines. 

One woman was killed in the explosion at the edge of Country Club Plaza.

The federal accusations are hotly denied by the company suspected of having accidentally opened the gas line.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Heartland Midwest broke rules, "willful violations" leading up to the gas leak and placed the contract driller on a “severe violator” list.

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Plaza Fire
9:17 am
Fri March 15, 2013

KC Fire Dept. Reverses Protocol For Gas Leaks After JJ’s Explosion

The site of JJ's after the explosion.
Elana Gordon KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department on Thursday made a major change in the way it responds to gas leaks, after it was highly questioned for its response to the JJ’s restaurant explosion. 

In what he said will be his final statement on the event, Fire Chief Paul Berardi announced that the department will stay on the scene of any gas leak until the situation posing a risk is resolved.  The department will also begin sending a battalion chief and a fire unit with monitoring equipment to all gas leak calls.

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Plaza Fire
10:05 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Fire Department Releases Report On JJ's Explosion

Elana Gordon KCUR

JJ’s restaurant was leveled by an unintentional explosion that probably was ignited by pilot lights in the kitchen, thanks to the nick in the natural gas line outside the building, according to a report released by the Kansas City Fire Department on Wednesday.

 

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Plaza Fire
6:28 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Questions Linger About Gas Company's Evacuation At JJ's

The site of the former JJ's restaurant.
Elana Gordon KCUR

As several investigations continue into the explosion of JJ’s Restaurant, the role Missouri Gas Energy played in its response to the emergency is being questioned by experts and a witness who say the utility didn’t follow industry standards or its own advice.

Although its own safety instructions for gas leaks to its customers call for evacuating the premises immediately, MGE didn’t do that at the Feb. 19 incident. In fact, the MGE workers on the scene didn’t suggest that people leave the popular wine bar until 51 minutes after the initial 911 call.

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Health
2:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Plaza Blast Underscores Region’s Emergency Medical Capacity

KMBC, TV-9 News

As of mid-week, four people remained hospitalized from the gas explosion and fire that destroyed JJ’s restaurant on the Plaza. One employee, Megan Cramer, died in the blast, and a memorial service is scheduled for Monday.

A lot of questions still surround how the situation was handled, including the timing of the evacuation and whether the explosion itself could have been avoided. While investigations are ongoing, KCUR’s Elana Gordon reports on how the region’s medical community responded, and how another crisis, the Hyatt Skywalk Collapse in 1981, has helped shape the region’s capacity to respond to large-scale events.

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Plaza Fire
12:03 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Wine, Shrimp, Camaraderie: Food Critic Remembers JJ’s Restaurant

Credit Elana Gordon / KCUR

Local and federal officials are trying to piece together exactly what happened last Tuesday evening, when a natural gas leak led to an explosion just west of the Country Club Plaza. The explosion and resulting fire at JJ’s restaurant killed one woman, and injured 15.

The victim is presumed to be 46-year-old Megan Cramer, a native of Springfield, and a longtime resident of the Plaza. Staff and regulars of JJ’s are not only mourning her loss, but the loss of a community that had formed around drinks and meals at the restaurant. 

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Fire
6:11 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Determining Cause Of Explosion Expected To Take Time

What's left after the Tuesday explosion and fire.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Police say investigation of the fire that gutted a Plaza restaurant that killed one person and injured 15 others will take a bit longer than some expected.

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Fire
11:16 am
Thu February 21, 2013

JJ's Staff, Regulars Turn To Each Other In Wake Of Fire

Co-owner, Jimmy Frantze, looking out at the rubble that was JJ’s Restaurant: 'We’re like a family at JJ’s. It's a sad family today.'
Elana Gordon KCUR

Judging by the lineup at the bar a few blocks from JJ’s last night, you might think you were at the longtime establishment. A lot of employees and regulars met up at Coal Vines on the Plaza, including James Potter.

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Fire
8:28 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

JJ's Other Co-Owner, Jimmy Frantze, Speaks Out After Deadly Fire

JJ's restaurant co-owner Jimmy Frantza keeps his back to his destroyed restaurant.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Up To Date's Steve Kraske interviewed JJ's co-owner David Frantze Wednesday morning in the aftermath of Tuesday's explosion that left some of the restaurant's employees critically injured and one missing.

KCUR's Elana Gordon had the opportunity Wednesday afternoon to speak with David's brother and JJ's other owner, Jimmy Frantze.

Here are some excerpts of their interview, which took place near the site of the fire.

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Fire
8:09 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Plaza Explosion Timeline Raises Questions

James cautions not to assign blame in Plaza blast before all the facts are in.
Frank Morris KCUR

The investigation into the blast and fire that rocked the Country Club Plaza and destroyed JJ’s Restaurant has entered a new phase.  

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Fire
4:09 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Local Hospitals Provide Injury Updates On Plaza Explosion

University of Kansas Hospital officials provided an update.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Ambulances on Tuesday night traveled with nine people injured in the explosion and fire on the Country Club Plaza to area hospitals, including St. Luke's and University of Kansas Hospital. Six injured patients walked themselves in. Officials today provided an update on the six victims still hospitalized.

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Fire
4:09 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

'Miraculous': Employees Cleared Restaurant Of Patrons Before Blast

The hull of JJ's restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.
Elana Gordon KCUR

The best eye-witnesses to the explosion at JJ’s yesterday were also the people who were in the most danger – the restaurant’s workers. Bartenders, busboys, a hostess and others were the last ones out of that burning building.

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Fire
2:46 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Blame Elusive In Plaza Blast

KC Mayor Sly James and Fire Chief Paul Berardi. 'Today is about people, not blame.'
Frank Morris KCUR

Workers using heavy equipment to install fiber-optic cable hit a gas main hours before the blast.   According to the Kansas City Business Journal, gas company workers showed up about 20 minutes later.

They were still on site later when firefighters responded to the leak, about 45 minutes before the explosion. 

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Fire
12:00 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

After The Fire: An Interview With JJ's Co-Owner David Frantze

View from Troost of the fire at JJ's.
Frank Morris KCUR

Up To Date's Steve Kraske talked Wednesday morning with David Frantze, co-owner of JJ's restaurant. A gas explosion Tuesday evening caused a fire that destroyed the restaurant, killing at least one person and injuring at least 14 others.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

David Frantze: Steve, it’s been a pretty rough time for the entire JJ’s family.

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Fire
10:44 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Body Found In Rubble At JJ's

Mayor Sly James tweeted this aerial view of JJ's site from the bucket of truck 6.
Mayor Sly James

At a press conference this morning, officials say they found a body in the rubble of the site of former JJ's restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. No positive identification has been made yet.

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Fire
10:04 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Search Continues For Missing JJ's Employee

Search continues for missing employee at JJ's restaurant.
Laura Spencer KCUR

One person still remains unaccounted for after last night's fire and explosion at JJ's restaurant on the Country Club Plaza.

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Cops & Crime
9:42 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Explosion At JJ's Thundered Through Plaza

Fire fighters, police, and ambulances outside of JJ's restaurant.
Dan Verbeck KCUR

At least one explosion thundered through the west edge of the County Club Plaza district  just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, sending more than a dozen people to hospitals. Some are critically injured. There was ample evidence pointing to natural gas as cause.

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Fire
7:05 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Fire Hits Plaza Business

TV-9 cameras capture a Kansas City fire truck silhouetted by the intense flames that destroyed a building near the Country Club Plaza
KMBC, TV-9 News

A fire caused by an apparent gas explosion near JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza has sent at least 14 people to area hospitals with injuries, some of them critical. The fire started around 6:00 Tuesday evening.  

Update 7:07 PM.  Residents from a nearby apartment building were evacuated.  Some are reporting that there was a strong smell of gas earlier in the afternoon. One resident of the nearby building also told reporters someone was operating a backhoe in the area earlier in the afternoon. 

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