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Body Found In Rubble At JJ's

At a press conference this morning, officials say they found a body in the rubble of the site of former JJ's restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. No positive identification has been made yet.

Update 4:45 PM: At an afternoon press conference, Kansas City Mayor Sly James and others provide more details about the fire and explosion, including a timeline, which raises questions.

Update 4:10 PM: Bellevue is now open. 48th will be closed at least until 6pm. Fire Department officials are wrapping their inspection and now Missouri Gas Energy (MGE) is going in to investigate.

Update 3:15 PM: The University of Kansas Hospital confirms treating 6 patients. One has been released, and four remain in critical condition. Two of the patients were transferred from other hospitals (one from Truman last night, one from St. Luke's this morning).

Update 3:00 PM: The Kansas City Star reports that a Springfield family is waiting for confirmation that the body recovered from the rubble of JJ's restaurant is Megan Cramer. According to the Star, Cramer grew up in Springfield, but had lived in the Kansas City area for 26 years. She had worked as a server at JJ's for several months.

Update 1:30 PM. St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City treated 8 patients, including six walk-in patients last night. All walk-ins were treated in the emergency room and then released. Two other patients were admitted. One was transferred to KU this morning after being stabilized; the other is in serious condition.

Update 12:45 PM. Missouri Gas Energy (MGE) released a statement about the gas explosion, stating: "We remain focused on supporting the ongoing investigation into the cause of last night’s incident and on ensuring the continued security of the site."

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi says at least two rescue units are on the scene, as well as two additional companies. An investigation has started, but Berardi says they're still searching to make sure there are no additional victims.

The city’s Fire Department has confirmed they took nine injured victims to the hospital last night. Six people total are still in the hospital. Three people are still in critical condition.

Natural gas has been restored to buildings in that Country Club Plaza area, but streets near JJ’s will remain closed.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said the focus is still on finding and taking care of people and that answers would come later.

The next press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:45 pm.

The Kansas City Star has posted a gallery of imagesof the Tuesday night blaze by photographer Bob Greenspan.

Some streets are still closed due to the fire. Find a map of the restricted area here.

Find more coverage of the Plaza fire from KCUR here.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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