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Police: 7 or 8 people hurt in Kansas City gas fire

10:23 PM, Feb 19, 2013   |    comments
(Image courtesy NBC affiliate KSHB)
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By MARIA SUDEKUM / Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Police say seven or eight people have been injured in the gas main explosion and fire at a restaurant in a Kansas City shopping district.

Police Sgt. Tony Sanders said the manager of JJ's restaurant also has told police three people are unaccounted for, but he doesn't know if they left before the explosion.

Sanders says a few of those injured have been taken to hospitals.

Previous story

Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A car crashed into a gas main Tuesday evening in an upscale Kansas City shopping district, sparking a massive blaze that engulfed an entire block and caused multiple injuries, police said.

Police spokeswoman Rhonda Flores said it appeared that a car crashed into a gas main near a restaurant at 6:03 p.m. Flores said injuries were reported but that she did not know how many or how severe. She noted an initial call for three ambulances had been increased to 10. She said she had not heard of any reported fatalities. Flores said the car crash appeared to have been accidental.

Kerry O'Connor, a spokeswoman for St. Luke's Hospital, which is near the scene of the fire, said several patients were on the way to the hospital. She said they haven't been assessed yet but "they appear to be critical at this time."

Fire officials didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday evening.

The smell of gas was very strong near the area long after the suspected explosion.

Video showed dozens of firefighters and other emergency responders battling a massive blaze that appeared to have engulfed an entire block, with flames burning through the roofs. Black smoke swirled in the air and debris littered surrounding streets.

The shopping area was established in 1922 by J.C. Nichols. Based on the architecture of Seville, Spain, it includes retail, restaurants, apartments and offices.

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