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Victim in JJ’s explosion died of burns, autopsy says

Updated: 2013-03-29T19:33:17Z

By MIKE HENDRICKS

The Kansas City Star

Burns caused the death of Megan Cramer, the only fatality in last month’s explosion and fire at JJ’s restaurant, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

Before the Feb. 19 blast, Cramer, 46, was last seen standing in the middle of the restaurant, the Jackson County medical examiner said. Her body wasn’t found until the next day in the rubble of the leveled building near the corner of 48th Street and Belleview Avenue.

According to the autopsy, the cause of death was “thermal burn injury.”

An intense fire blazed after the explosion. One of the last of her co-workers to escape the building told police that he heard her cry out for help. Both she and that employee were buried under debris when a wall and the ceiling collapsed, but he managed to free himself.

Authorities say the blast occurred after a contractor hit an underground natural gas line outside the restaurant. Fumes collected inside the building and were ignited, possibly by the pilot light of a stove or water heater.

The Missouri Public Service Commission is conducting an extensive investigation that probably won’t be completed for a couple of months.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4378 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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