In the wake of JJ's restaurant fire, KCFD makes changes to the way it responds to natural gas leaks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Fire Department announced Thursday it is making changes to the way it responds to natural gas leaks after last month's deadly fire at JJ's restaurant on the Plaza.

According to the new policy, firefighters will remain on scene until the "situation posing risk is resolved."

On the night of the explosion, the first fire truck to respond to the gas leak reportedly told workers at JJ's to put out candles and other ignition sources. However, the firefighters then left the scene with utility workers at MGE.

About 45 minutes later, the restaurant exploded from natural gas that had accumulated inside the building.

A second change requires that crews to all suspected gas leaks have gas-monitoring equipment. The first pumper that responded to the leak near JJ's restaurant did not have gas meters.

As 41 Action News previously reported, KCFD protocol only required the equipment for indoor gas leaks, but not outdoor leaks like the one reported on the Plaza.

During a February 28 interview with 41 Action News , Chief Paul Berardi hinted some of the changes would be coming.

The announced changes came one day after the KCFD issued its cause and origin report.

"Injuries to the public and the loss of property weigh heavily on firefighters, whether in major events such as this or in the fires and accidents we address every day," a statement read. "KCFD accordingly reviews all major operations, especially those involving injury or a fatality, for the purpose improving firefighters' ability to better protect human life and property."

A department spokesman said a more extensive internal review of the response on February 19 is planned for next week.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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