VIDEO: 14 Injured and Kansas City Restaurant Destroyed After Explosion

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At least 14 people were injured and three more are missing as a gas explosion sparked a massive fire that engulfed an entire block at an upscale shopping center in Kansas City on Tuesday.

There are no known fatalities, according to Kansas City Police Department spokeswoman Rhonda Flores, but a popular restaurant was destroyed and authorities said that three people were unaccounted for.

The four-alarm fire appears to have started after a construction vehicle struck a gas main outside JJ's Restaurant. Witnesses reported seeing JJ’s, in the upscale Country Club Plaza, become enveloped in heavy smoke and flames shortly after 6 p.m. local time.

Dozens of firefighters and other emergency personnel responded immediately to battle the massive blaze, which quickly engulfed the entire block, with flames burning through the roofs.

There was no reliable count of who was inside the restaurant at the time, according to Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi.

"I would always fear there are fatalities in a scene like this," he said.

The University of Kansas Hospital treated six people, a spokesman said. One person was in critical condition, two were in serious condition and two others were expected to be released. Eight people, six with minor injuries, were treated at St. Luke's Hospital, the medical director of the emergency room said.

Missouri Gas Energy said in a statement that "early indications are that a contractor doing underground work struck a natural gas line."

However, Berardi said the investigation "needs to be concluded before we want to speculate on any of that."

Nearby residents said the blast was so powerful it shook homes and restaurants in the area.

Kim Vineyard, who said she lives about a block away from JJ’s told the Kansas City Star she felt the devastating blast.

“It sounded like my dining window, which faces Belleview, was going to be blown through,” she said.

The smell of gas was very strong and lingered near the area long after the explosion, according to media reports.

Residents who live near JJ’s Restaurant reported that they smelled the odor of gas Tuesday afternoon and reported it to Missouri Gas Energy about an hour before the explosion rocked their homes, according to KHSB.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James took to Twitter Tuesday night, begging residents to avoid the devastated area.

"Pray for the people on the Plaza, folks," he wrote.  "Everybody please stay calm and away from the area. Responders need room to work."

Construction work over the last seven years had complicated access to JJ's. A server at the restaurant needed treatment in 2006 after she was struck by a rock that was sent flying from the construction site.

"JJ's has a small staff, a family feel," said bartender Jim Ligon, who wasn't working at the time of the explosion. "You see the same 100 people all the time — a bar and restaurant for regulars. We're just really hoping we come out of here OK in terms of injuries."