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Company in Kansas City explosion lacked work permit

Posted at 9:47 PM, Feb 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-25 21:47:32-05

(CNN) — The company that was laying cable before an explosion last week at a popular Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant — a blast that killed one person and injured several others — did not have a permit for the excavation, a city official said Monday.

Those who fail to have such a permit could face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail, Assistant City Manager Patrick Klein said.

The contractor, Heartland Midwest, previously had worked in Kansas City after obtaining proper permits, according to Klein.

But he said the company did not do so last Tuesday, when one of their employees laying fiber optic cable hit a 2-inch gas line with an underground boring machine. The explosion occurred about an hour later, just after 6 p.m.

Authorities do not know what caused the leaking gas to ignite, according to Rob Hack, chief operating officer of Missouri Gas Energy.

“But all the damage points to ignition inside the restaurant,” he said, referring to JJ’s restaurant, a popular place near Country Club Plaza, an area filled with upscale shops and restaurants.