KANSAS CITY, Mo - The attorney representing the employees of JJ’s restaurant is taking strong objection to a report released Wednesday by the Kansas City Fire Department.
The report detailed the cause and source of the explosion in the restaurant. The cause is listed as “accidental ignition of gas fumes from accumulated natural gas inside JJ’s” and the ignition source is listed as an open flame or smoking material in the kitchen.
The report also detailed how firefighters responded to the initial call about the gas leak. The narrative in the report said firefighters told workers inside JJ’s to extinguish candles, open flames and pilot lights.
According to the fire department report, firefighters then went back outside to talk to MGE workers. A worker told them equipment was on its way from Raymore and that firefighters could leave the scene.
Firefighters then reportedly went back into JJ’s and told workers to keep flames and pilot lights out until MGE gave the all clear.
After the explosion, the report said the JJ’s manager told firefighters employees extinguished candles and turned off the oven. However, he told them employees were unable to get the pilot lights turned off before the explosion.
Attorney Grant Davis, who represents the JJ’s employees injured in the explosion, objects to that report.
“It is factually incorrect to say anyone in JJ’s was told to turn out the pilot lights. It just didn’t happen. Factually, that’s incorrect. There’s plenty of witnesses who can verify no one told them to do that,” Davis said.
Davis also told the 41 Action News investigators that if MGE (who was in charge of the scene) wanted the pilot lights off, they could have turned off JJ’s gas meter. That would have extinguished all flames inside JJ’s. However, Davis said the meter was untouched.
“It would be improper protocol for the gas company to expect the tenant or someone living in a structure to go back inside to find all the pilot lights and turn them. It just wouldn’t happen and it’s improper protocol,” Davis explained.
The 41 Action News investigators called the Kansas City Fire Department for comment. A spokesman declined to comment about Davis’ challenges to the report.
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