Restaurant hostess: 'I thought I was going to die' - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Restaurant hostess: 'I thought I was going to die'

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A JJ's restaurant hostess said she thought she was going to die when an explosion rocked her restaurant Tuesday night, and she is frantic with fear for a missing friend.

"I thought I was going to die. Honestly, I thought I was trapped in there," said Deidre Estes, who has been working at JJ's for 14 years.

Estes said crews had been out investigating a strong gas odor in the area. She said just before 6 p.m. they suggested shutting down the restaurant. As a result, no patrons were inside the restaurant at the time of the explosion, but employees weren't frantically trying to leave either.

"They said, 'Well, because of the smell in here, you guys should really leave,' so that's why we were packing up to leave. They didn't make it sound like you need to get out this second, so we were kind of taking our time, putting things away, locking up the register and then, boom! And everything was black."

Estes said the explosion occurred just a matter of minutes after the last patron left. She was left stunned as debris rained down around her.

"I saw the flames, and I was scared I was going to burn up. And then with all my might, I got this strength and lifted the rubble off," she recalled.

In her panic, she screamed over and over for help.

She said her chef tried to get to her but couldn't. The chef suffered critical injuries.

"To the right of me I saw one of the waiters. And he took my hand and just with all my might I lifted up, I don't know if it was a ceiling tile or walls or what," she said. "And we just made our way through the rubble and just climbed out."

But getting out of the rubble was difficult.

"It was pitch black in there. You couldn't see anything," she said. "And finally I saw a little glimpse of light, so we just followed that and I just kept saying, 'Don't let go of my hand.'"

Another hostess who was working at the time is missing, and Estes is frantic with worry about her.

A man is also missing. Police said cadaver dogs have not located any bodies in the remains of the demolished building, but searchers will return at daybreak Wednesday.

KCTV5's Alan Shope interviewed Estes after she was treated at St. Luke's Medical Center for her injuries.

Estes later posted on Facebook about her ordeal.

"I am so grateful to be alive! I was inside when it happened. Thank you Drew Latourneau for pulling me out of the rubble. Thanks also to the nice neighborhood girl who drove Lindsay and me to the hospital. This is a tragedy I will never forget. Prayers please for me friend Megan, who is still missing," she said.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • TBI urges community to stay vigilant in search for Elizabeth Thomas

    TBI urges community to stay vigilant in search for Elizabeth Thomas

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 5:41 PM EDT2017-03-28 21:41:18 GMT
    Thomas (L) and Cummins (R) (Source: TBI)Thomas (L) and Cummins (R) (Source: TBI)

    For more than two weeks, a 15-year-old girl from central Tennessee has been missing.

    More >>

    For more than two weeks, a 15-year-old girl from central Tennessee has been missing.

    More >>
  • Body identified; murder arrest made

    Body identified; murder arrest made

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 4:36 PM EDT2017-03-28 20:36:48 GMT
    Gautier police say James Russel Vanliningham, Jr killed Amanda Hicks (Photo Source: Gautier Police)Gautier police say James Russel Vanliningham, Jr killed Amanda Hicks (Photo Source: Gautier Police)

    Gautier Police confirm the body found behind a Jackson County church 10 days ago was Amanda Hicks. And they believe James Russel Vanlaningham, Jr. killed her. A Gautier Police Department news release says the state medical examiner's office has positively identified Hicks. What scientists couldn't determine yet was how she died.

    More >>

    Gautier Police confirm the body found behind a Jackson County church 10 days ago was Amanda Hicks. And they believe James Russel Vanlaningham, Jr. killed her. A Gautier Police Department news release says the state medical examiner's office has positively identified Hicks. What scientists couldn't determine yet was how she died.

    More >>
  • Police pursuit started because occupants weren't wearing seatbelts

    Police pursuit started because occupants weren't wearing seatbelts

    Tuesday, March 28 2017 2:25 PM EDT2017-03-28 18:25:29 GMT
    Crayons and broken glass mark the place where 3 children were killed Saturday in a fatal accident. (Photo source: WLOX)Crayons and broken glass mark the place where 3 children were killed Saturday in a fatal accident. (Photo source: WLOX)

    We now know more about why Lucedale police tried to pull over a car that was later involved in a fatal crash Saturday night: An officer noticed they weren't wearing seatbelts.

    More >>

    We now know more about why Lucedale police tried to pull over a car that was later involved in a fatal crash Saturday night: An officer noticed they weren't wearing seatbelts.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly