TODAY   |  February 20, 2013

Gas explosion injures at least 14 in Kansas City

Authorities are still searching for possible victims after a natural gas explosion outside a popular restaurant sparked a five-alarm fire that injured at least 14 people. NBC’s John Yang reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> here at home, we're following a major story developing this morning, emergency crews searching for possible victims after a kansas city restaurant was flattened in a fire.

>> reporter: cadaver dogs will be back at work this morning at the scene. overnight they got no hits. when given the size of this explosion, this is remarkable that so far there have been no fatalities reported.

>> boom, everything just exploded. it was just the scariest thing i ever witnessed.

>> reporter: a gas main break in this upscale kansas city shopping district sparked an explosion and raging inferno in a restaurant at about 6:00 pm tuesday night. happy hour. the fire so big, it engulfed an entire city street. the impact of the blast felt blocks away.

>> it set off all the car alarms through the entire block. the flames were even taller than the building next to it.

>> reporter: more than a dozen people were injured, taken to area hospitals. at a news conference last night, officials were still not sure of the cause or if anyone had been killed, promising to focus first on human lives.

>> what we're really trying to get a handle on right now is how many people were hurt, where are they? who are they? what's their condition, et cetera ? that's a moving target.

>> also concern there may be additional people that were not able to get out of the structure. we have cadaver dogs thoroughly combing the scene right now.

>> reporter: the epicenter of the explosion, jj's restaurant. david francais.

>> my brother has spent his life running this business, built it into one of the finest restaurants in the city. to come here and see a hole in the ground and in flames is a pretty staggering experience.

>> reporter: as the search for potential victims continues, so does the search for a cause. last night the utility company said preliminary indications are that a contractor hit an underground natural gas line . david?

>> john yang , thanks very much,