Three people are missing and at least 14 people were injured when a gas line in Kansas City, Mo., exploded and ignited a ferocious four-alarm fire, officials said Tuesday night.

James Garrett, a spokesman for the Kansas City Fire Department, told CNN that three people were unaccounted for Tuesday night.

Officials at three hospitals said at least 14 people were hospitalized, including three in critical condition and three in serious condition.

Kansas City police said the blast occurred around 6 p.m. Central Time outside JJ's Restaurant in Country Club Plaza. Enormous flames tore into the night sky outside the restaurant, which was razed, NBC station KSHB of Kansas City reported.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said in a news conference at 10 p.m. Central that the cause of the explosion was still under investigation, but he saw no sign of arson.

The Missouri Gas Energy utility said it appeared that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line. Berardi said MGE had turned off the gas at 8 and there was no danger of another explosion.

The fire chief also said dogs were sniffing through the wreckage for possible bodies, the Associated Press reported. While he had no reports of fatalities, Berardi noted, "I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this."