Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Explosive News Shocks AM~Erica

So anyway...

Last night, at the end of a usual local 6:00 newscast, breaking news was happening right before our eyes. The station we were watching is right down the street from something so shocking in our area...and so sad.

The channel we were on was rocked (only slightly) by what was an apparent explosion somewhere close by. They sent news chopper helicopters to see what could be found out...and it wasn't hard to find.

Billowing black & gray smoke was rising above one area of the historic & famous Country Club Plaza. It is the oldest shopping area in the U.S. & contains most of the fountains of KC that puts only second to Rome in the number of fountains in the world. See? You learned a little something're welcome.

Historic Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri

The famous JC Nichols of the many fountains in & around the Plaza

Billowing smoke over the Plaza, seen from afar

One thing about the Plaza is that it is generally very upscale (or was in the has slightly lessened in that status within the last few years). It still contains very upscale shopping, but is certainly known for the number of upper-scale eateries. It's kind of a big deal. This is the area of the famous Plaza Lights around the holiday time, and it also well known for the horse drawn carriage rides you can take around, like the one that HUBBY & I TOOK ON ONE OF OUR DATES.

Famous Plaza Lights of Kansas City
There are a lot of apartment areas on the outskirts of this historic landmark, but within it lies many, many businesses of all sorts. Mostly shopping & eating...but there are a few offices, salons & such that cater to a higher tax bracket.

So, around 6:30ish...the news team went live to what was going on somewhere on the Plaza. An explosion would be near unheard of around there...but the video being shown was horrifying & breathtaking all at once.

Not only was the thick, black, cottony-looking smoke rising so high up into the atmosphere...the bright orange glow from underneath was even more frightening. Eventually, it looked like gates to hell were opened, and the rise of the inferno-like flames was terrifying!

The anchors couldn't tell by the chopper angle as to where it might be actually coming from, but they kept repeating over & over that it looked like it was around the area of a longtime eating establishment, J.J.'s.

As the video feed from the chopper could draw a bit more nigh & get a better was, indeed, J.J.'s.

Even more heart breaking, even though this may not have been prevented, there were warning signs to at least have folks clear the area hours before this tragic event...

I'm going to tell you this story first. Seems unrelated, but stay with me...
A couple of weeks ago, my parents were telling me about smelling gas at their house, or outside. Be proud of me...or don't...that I fought off jumping on the fart/old fart jokes! It took a lot for me to do it, too...but I digress...
Apparently there was a natural gas leak somewhere in the neighborhood, and when they called the gas company, they were told it could take up to 6 months to fix...but...since it appeared to be a 95% leakage...someone would be out within a week.
Is that some of the craziest stuff you've ever heard? Well...turns out the leak was under the tree in my folks' front yard. They live in a cul de sac, and I cannot imagine what might have happened to those 6 houses that sit right around that circle if anything had ignited. I shudder to think about it.

There's a reason I covered tree & it's digestive issues...folks around the Plaza, and in that area, were smelling natural gas thru the day. To a worrisome level to some...but no evacuation. So everyone carried on about their business...

Reports came out that a car hit a restaurant, but there's no way a fire that big would have been caused by a car...unless it's Hollywood. But then it was said that it hit a nearby gas line. OK...makes more sense...but...

All of a sudden it came out that there was, indeed, an explosion. Construction had been happening across the street for 5 there had been a lot of construction right a backhoe was noticed.

What is known is that there was a gas leak. Someone had hit it underground...possibly. Not sure why it exploded, but we could see people stupid enough...and heard witnesses talking about...the person(s) smoking in the area! Are You Kidding Me?

I am NOT saying that it was the smoker(s) that caused this. Just take note. However...a historic building & a longtime running & establishment, favorited & frequented by many, was gone. IS gone. Gone.

Gas was smelled around 1:00 one was evacuated until sometime after 5:00...but...apparently that info wasn't given quickly enough...the explosion happened around 6:00 PM.

Now then...I'm not the biggest of conspiracy theorists...but I do wonder sometimes...
There were a couple of interviews done with random witnesses that really made the hubby & I wonder...
The first guy that struck us was a dude who was on the highway...saw smoke...and decided to make his way over to the site to watch a building burn. Uh...someone needs to keep that footage of that guy...he didn't have anything to do with this one, but he's someone who has done something or getting ready to. That was horribly bizarre.
The next guy that caused us to pay attention was a guy in his mid-20's to early 30's. He was interviewed & he said that he was an employee at J.J.'s, but had the day off/ he lived close by/ heard an explosion and "knew it was J.J.'s". Say what??? He also just happened to know that there wouldn't be very many people in the eatery at that moment. It was very weird. Keep that interview & his face! It may come in handy...

Now then, they also interviewed one of the co-owners of J.J.'s. I realize we probably didn't see the whole interview, but he didn't seem very overcome with emotion...but talked about how he & his family are resilient & would get thru this. It was so strange... that we are past that line of thinking...Mayor Sly James made a point in a dull press conference that we are in the "People Phase". This is more concerned about finding everyone & making sure people are OK & taken care of. That right where it needs to be.

As it turns out, last night, there were very few people in the restaurant (just as the employee had pointed out, btw). They figured there were maybe 11-13 folks injured & getting medical attention. It was reported that there were 3 unaccounted for. In that time, they found 2 of those folks & got them some medical attention. They were still missing one.

Unbelievable to see the pictures of where this place once stood. And, now that the smoldering is quieted, cadaver dogs did find the remains of someone. It may be the person unaccounted for. Oh-so-sad.

A giant hole has been left in our metro area. A hole in KC; a hole on the Plaza; a whole in our hearts.

All that is left of JJ's

We need to pray & send comfort to these families of the injured, the family of the body found, the rescuers that fought very hard to keep things under control, and for the the restaurant owners & employees. I cannot imagine what it might have been like to have been in that area. The video & images are amazing, breathtaking, absolutely horrendous.

The reports of all the people in the area who smelled the gas, who felt the explosion, who saw the building, who ran to help, and who were evacuated from their homes or would not be allowed in their homes after work...we need to pray for them, too.

What. A. Shock.

But we should be thankful that it was not any 6:00 on any given evening. Still tragic.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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