Woman smelled gas before explosion at JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A woman who was inside JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza just moments before an apparent explosion sparked a massive fire says she could smell gas in the building before the blast.

Jennifer Carter says she was having coffee with a manager at JJ's shortly before the explosion and estimated nine or 10 other people were inside when she was there.

Carter tells 41 Action News JJ's had already turned off their appliances and were not cooking anything while they tried to figure out the source of the gas smell.

Other witnesses have said they smelled gas in the area for many hours before the explosion, which happened just after 6 p.m.

She says she saw a man come in with some kind of hand-held gas detector who told everyone to leave.

She walked away from the building, leaving the manager behind, and heard a loud blast by the time she got just a few blocks away.

Carter says she got to JJ's at about 5:15 p.m.

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