Fire department gas leak protocol changes following JJ's blast - KCTV5

Fire department gas leak protocol changes following JJ's explosion

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

One of the biggest changes to come out of the deadly JJ's restaurant explosion is how the fire department responds to gas leaks.

The Kansas City Fire Department fell under heavy criticism for leaving the scene before the leak was capped.

The deadly explosion of JJ's restaurant a year ago led to some changes in the city's fire department protocol when it comes to gas leaks. Now, when there is a call of a natural gas leak, instead of a single pumper unit responding and waiting to decide if additional resources are needed, a battalion chief, a pumper unit and a unit with a gas meter reader automatically respond.

"We've since added six more for a total of 12 gas readers," said Deputy Chief Donna Maize.

The city's fire department released a report Wednesday to the Public Safety Committee showing the increase in the number of gas leak calls.

Before the February explosion last year there were 398 outside natural gas incidents reported. After the change in protocol there were 681. Before the change, one unit responded, and after the change, three units now respond.

"There's more public awareness now. People are calling them in as soon as the smell them rather than wait until the odor dissipates. They are calling them in much sooner," Maize said.

Council members agree that resources are better then spent before even though a majority of the leaks turn out to be minor.

One person, waitress Megan Cramer, died in the JJ's blast. A number of lawsuits concerning who is to blame are still pending.

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