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Body found in Kansas City eatery; blast probed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A body was found yesterday morning in the debris in the bar area of JJ's restaurant, where fire crews searched for a female server missing after a massive explosion rocked the area Tuesday night, just west of the city's Country Club Plaza.

In Springfield, Mo., the family of Megan Cramer told The Kansas City Star it had been contacted by authorities in Kansas City. Cramer, 46, had been a server at JJ's for several months. The family said confirmation using medical records might take 24 to 48 hours.

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said the restaurant was reduced to rubble 3 or 4 feet deep, with debris so heavy that crews needed heavy equipment for a careful search.

The fire department was mindful that, with a winter storm bearing down on the area, it needs to work quickly to find anyone who might still be in the building.

Ambulances took nine people to hospitals Tuesday night and six others made their own way to hospitals. Berardi said the injuries included burns, head wounds and abrasions from flying glass.

University of Kansas Hospital said Wednesday afternoon that it had five patients whose conditions ranged from serious to extremely critical.

People were said to have been injured when the blast threw them against walls and struck them with debris. The shock wave of the explosion was particularly damaging, causing severe brain and lung injuries.

The explosion is believed to have come from a natural gas leak. -- MCT

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