Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

As the brisk morning morphed into a warm autumn afternoon, residents and business owners began to gather on the perimeters of the site along Kansas City's Independence Avenue where two veteran firefighters died saving civilians in an apartment building fire Monday night.

Seventeen-year Kansas City firefighter Larry Leggio and John Mesh, 13 years with the force, died outside the structure when part of the burning building crashed down on them .  According to reports, they had just brought two residents from upper story apartments to safety.

Jeffrey Harvey / KCUR

The circumstances surrounding Tuesday's natural gas explosion just west of the Country Club Plaza - that killed one person, injured more than a dozen, and destroyed JJ's restaurant - were discussed in an afternoon press conference.