Questions abound after a natural gas explosion destroyed a restaurant in an upscale Kansas City shopping district. According to an ABC News.com report, the explosion at JJ’s restaurant erupted into a spectacular fireball that rattled nearby buildings and could be seen for miles. The blaze completely destroyed the restaurant as well as other businesses on the block.
While no initial reports of fatalities were given, authorities are not optimistic. The explosion occurred during the height of happy hour (6:00pm) and witnesses said that a number of patrons were at the restaurant, and firefighters fear that not everyone was able to exit the building before it was destroyed.
An investigation into the cause of the fire has already begun, with preliminary reports suggesting that a contractor might have hit an underground gas line.
This can have far-reaching implications into how people are compensated in light of the injuries and damages suffered. Missouri law allows injured people to seek money damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as rehabilitation costs. As such, it will be essential for investigators to piece together what happened to create the gas leak. This will help in determining who may have been negligent, and to what extent such negligence led to the explosion (as well as patrons’ injuries).
The investigation will also determine who will be responsible for compensating the restaurant for its losses. As a business, JJ’s had its own financial obligations (i.e. rent to its landlord, paying employees and suppliers).
In the meantime, investigators will continue to assess the situation to gain clues.
Source: ABC News.com, Kansas City gas explosion: One missing, a dozen injured as a restaurant is destroyed, February 20, 2013