Should Plaza area have been evacuated before the blast?
The Kansas City Star
Kansas City Mayor Sly James hotly deflected questions at a morning news conference about the absence of an evacuation order on the Plaza Tuesday, despite numerous persons reporting a strong gas smell for much of the afternoon.
“Everybody wants to blame somebody. Everybody wants to know these details,” James said. “That’s not going to happen today.”
Fair enough. James had the hard task of informing the public that a body had been found in the bar area of the ruined JJ’s restaurant. Much about the blast is unknown. Fire Chief Paul Berardi couldn’t even say today whether customers were advised to leave the restaurant shortly before the explosion, as some reported last night.
But make no mistake, the questions aren’t going to go away. Kansas City deserves a complete explanation as to why there seemed to be no urgency to get employees, customers and passersby out of the area when the odor of gas was apparently very strong.
Today may not be the day, with six persons still in hospitals, one dead and crews rushing to gather information and secure the blast scene while a major snowstorm bears down on the city. But we need answers, and soon.