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Family IDs victim in Kansas City, Mo., blast as restaurant worker

February 21, 2013|By Marisa Gerber

A snowstorm that blanketed Kansas City, Mo., Thursday slowed the investigation into a deadly natural gas explosion, as well as efforts to identify the person who died in the blast, officials said.

The Kansas City Fire Department, which finished its on-site investigation Wednesday afternoon, planned to release a report next week on what caused the fatal blast Tuesday that injured several people and destroyed JJ’s restaurant, department spokesman James Garrett told the Los Angeles Times. He declined to comment on whether the cause was accidental.

Investigators from the ATF and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, who are assisting firefighters with the case, were still at the scene Thursday, Garrett said, adding that "the snow hampered some of the investigation."

The identity of the body pulled from the charred debris hadn’t been released by Thursday evening, the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office said.

Carrie Pimentel, an investigator with the medical examiner's office, told the Associated Press that some doctors couldn't get to work Thursday because of the snow. It's unclear when the victim will be identified, she said.

But the mother of a missing restaurant server told the Associated Press that she thinks the remains are those of her 46-year-old daughter, Megan Cramer. 

"We talked on the phone the day she died," Genny Cramer said Wednesday. "She said she was doing well and was getting ready for work."

At least 15 people were injured in the blast, but many of them had been released from local hospitals by Thursday.

University of Kansas Hospital spokeswoman Jill Chadwick told The Times that one person remained in critical condition Thursday evening. Two others were in serious condition and another was in fair condition, she said.

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marisa.gerber@latimes.com

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