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KC firefighters clear smoke from JJ’s restaurant after fire scare

Firefighters quickly controlled an apparent fire at the new JJ’s restaurant Wednesday morning at 900 W. 48th Place, near the Country Club Plaza.
Firefighters quickly controlled an apparent fire at the new JJ’s restaurant Wednesday morning at 900 W. 48th Place, near the Country Club Plaza. The Kansas City Star

Kansas City firefighters quickly put out a fire that spread smoke through the new JJ’s restaurant Wednesday morning just two months after it reopened following a devastating explosion that destroyed its former building.

Heavy smoke prompted an evacuation Wednesday of the restaurant at 900 W. 48th Place, near the Country Club Plaza. Firefighters found fire in a kitchen ventilation system, said Battalion Chief Jeff Johnson of the fire department.

Crews brought in fans to clear smoke at about 9:45 a.m. There were no injuries, said Johnson, who described the damage as “minimal.”

JJ’s re-opened in November less than a block from its former location. A February 2013 natural gas explosion and fire destroyed the previous restaurant, killed employee Megan Cramer and injured 15 others.

The new restaurant is in the Plaza Vista complex, which includes the Polsinelli law firm.

“The good news is that they got it right away,” said JJ’s co-owner Jimmy Frantze, who emphasized the emergency had been minor. “There was some smoldering but there were never any flames.”

The restaurant opened for lunch Wednesday after a visit from a Kansas City Health Department representative, Frantze said.

Frantze added that he was relieved that the emergency had not been more serious.

“There’s a little too much deja vu going on here,” he said.

Firefighters also checked the Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, which is located below JJ’s exterior patio. The restaurant suffered no damage, said Rick Compton, general manager, adding that it would open at 4 p.m. Wednesday as normal.

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to bburnes@kcstar.com.

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