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.
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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.
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