An independent contractor installing fiber-optic cable for Time Warner Cable in Kansas City inadvertently struck an underground gas line Tuesday evening, which later caught fire and created an explosion that destroyed a local restaurant, killing one of the workers there and injuring about 15 others near the scene.
According to a report in theKansas City Star, Heartland Midwest LLC, had notified officials Tuesday morning that it had planned to use a horizontal boring machine to install fiber optic cable at an office building near JJ’s Restaurant in the city. Heartland was working for Time Warner Cable at the time. According to the paper, Heartland is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation into the incident.
According to the paper, Heartland workers called 911 at 4:54 p.m. to report a gas leak. Kansas City Fire Department officials notified utility Missouri Gas Energy about a minute later and arrived on the scene themselves at 5:04. According to the paper, the fire department deferred to MGE, who they claim had the situation under control. Around 5:50 p.m., MGE began asking workers to evacuate the building. At about 6:04 p.m., the paper said, the gas ignited, touching off an explosion that leveled the building.
Officials have not yet identified the body found at the scene, but the paper said that the family of 46-year-old server Megan Cramer believe she was killed in the tragedy.
“Like all residents of Kansas City, we are saddened to hear of the fire in the Plaza,” Time Warner Cable said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to each family that has been affected by this incident. TWC stands ready to support the local authorities with their investigation should that be needed.”