A body was found in the rubble of a Kansas City restaurant that exploded, but authorities have yet to identify whether the remains were that of an employee who has been missing since Tuesday night’s blast.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Wednesday that search crews found the body in the rubble of JJ’s restaurant, which was rocked by an explosion and fire Tuesday night following reports of a strong gas odor, the Associated Press reported.
JJ’s was located in the upscale County Club Plaza area of Kansas City.
James said 15 people were injured in the explosion -- six of them hospitalized and nine released from the hospital, according to the AP. The mayor did not say whether the recovered body was a man or a woman.
A woman was reported missing and has yet to be accounted for.
Deidre Estes, a hostess at JJ’s who has worked at the Kansas City restaurant for 14 years, told KCTV that she feared she would die in the explosion and worried about the fate of the missing employee.
"I thought I was going to die. Honestly, I thought I was trapped in there," Estes said.
Crews investigating a strong gas order around 6 p.m. Tuesday advised the restaurant be shut down, Estes said. No customers were in JJ’s at the time of the explosion.
"They said, 'Well, because of the smell in here, you guys should really leave,' so that's why we were packing up to leave,” Estes told KCTV. “They didn't make it sound like you need to get out this second, so we were kind of taking our time, putting things away, locking up the register and then boom! And everything was black."
Estes described climbing out of the rubble as she escaped the damaged building with JJ’s waiters.
"It was pitch black in there. You couldn't see anything," she said. "And finally I saw a little glimpse of light, so we just followed that, and I just kept saying, 'Don't let go of my hand.'"