JJ's owner talks about his employees and the night of the explosion that leveled JJ's Restaurant
41 Action News Staff
4:17 PM, Mar 4, 2013
7:16 PM, Mar 5, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - JJ's owner Jimmy Frantzé could not believe his beloved restaurant of 27 years had exploded the night of Feb. 19.
Frantzé was in Oklahoma at the time of the explosion. He said he didn't want to believe it until he saw it.
"We just got in the car immediately -- and a lot can go on through your mind on the drive -- but it didn't hit home until I stood there and looked at it." he said.
He said the decision to rebuild and reopen will be made over the next few weeks. One thing is certain, though. He will save as much of the remaining restaurant as possible. The west wall is still standing, and he plans to build around that wall if he does rebuild JJ's.
His main concern, though, is his staff. They are still getting paid their regular paychecks through insurance funds, but it's not the money Frantzé is worried about.
"What I'm really concerned about is the trauma," he said. "There were some broken bones and some contusions, and I want to make sure all that gets taken care of. Our insurance company is doing a tremendous job."
JJ's employees are also suffering mentally.
"They all have nightmares. Loud noises make them jump," Frantzé said.
A crisis management team is in place to give employees any necessary counseling they may need.
Frantzé also talked about Megan Cramer, the former attorney who died that night while working at JJ's.
"She immediately became a part of the family. She had a tremendous attitude, bright and very professional," Frantzé said.
Immediately after an interview at 41 Action News, Frantzé attended Cramer's memorial service.
A benefit concert is being held Tuesday night in support of the employees, along with a fund in Megan Cramer's name.
It's being held at the Uptown Theater at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10.