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Final report on JJ’s explosion delayed due to need for more data, Missouri Public Service Commission says

Updated: 2013-06-19T15:57:09Z

By MIKE HENDRICKS

The Kansas City Star

Investigators at the Missouri Public Service Commission say they need more time to file their final report on the fatal natural gas explosion and fire that destroyed JJ’s restaurant in February.

The four-member commission had set June 27 as the deadline for its staff to issue findings, or provide a status update on the investigation.

In a report filed Tuesday, the public service commission’s senior counsel, Robert Berlin, said investigators have interviewed more than 60 people and conducted a number of tests, but still need to gather more information.

Test results and analysis of data collected from laser scans, soil samples and ground penetrating radar still haven’t come in. Further investigation is set for next month at the site of the blast that killed one person and injured 15.

Berlin said staff will issue another status report on July 26 and will file a separate notice giving the date when the final report will be finished.

The focus of the report, he said, will be on whether Missouri Gas Energy was in compliance with state regulations at the time of the Feb. 19 explosion.

A Kansas City Fire Department investigation said the blast occurred after contractors accidentally ruptured a gas line and the resulting fumes were ignited more than an hour later by a pilot lot inside the Country Club Plaza-area restaurant.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738, or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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