Workers using heavy equipment to install fiber-optic cable hit a gas main hours before the blast. According to the Kansas City Business Journal, gas company workers showed up about 20 minutes later.
They were still on site later when firefighters responded to the leak, about 45 minutes before the explosion.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James says Missouri Gas Energy officials have jurisdiction in a situation like that, but that it is still not clear why the place wasn’t fully evacuated by the time it went up.
“Now I understand everybody wants to know what happened, everybody wants to blame somebody, everybody wants to know these details,” said James. “But, let me assure you, that’s not going to happen today.”
It may not be Thursday either. A major winter storm bearing down on Kansas City Wednesday evening will likely cut the investigation short.
Find more coverage of the Plaza fire from KCUR here.