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Fines levied after fatal blast levels Mo. eatery

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The federal government is seeking stiff fines against a cable company subcontractor after a fatal explosion leveled a Kansas City restaurant.

The U.S. Department of Labor released a statement Thursday saying Heartland Midwest was being cited for safety violations after a crew breached a natural gas supply line with an underground borer on Feb. 19.

The blast leveled JJ's restaurant near the Country Club Plaza, a busy outdoor shopping area. One restaurant worker died and 15 others were injured.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking $161,000 in penalties against Heartland for violations including failing to provide a workplace "free of recognized hazards." JJ's also faces a proposed $2,000 penalty for having a deficient emergency action plan.

Heartland attorney Brad Russell says the company strongly denies the allegations.