Downtown Durham Fire

Downtown+Durham+Explosion
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Downtown Durham Fire

Downtown Durham Explosion

Downtown Durham Explosion

Durham Herald Sun

Downtown Durham Explosion

Durham Herald Sun

Durham Herald Sun

Downtown Durham Explosion

Amelia Mendes, Opinion Editor

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On Wednesday, April 10th at around 10 a.m, tragedy struck in Downtown Durham when a building collapsed after a gas explosion. The building was at 115 North Duke Street, which housed Prescient Co Inc. and Kaffeinate, a popular coffee shop. Firefighters were already at the scene and evacuations were already underway, when the explosion happened. They had been called after the gas leak, which ultimately caused the explosion, was first reported. Many nearby business owners had closed shop for the day, as a response to hearing about how Kaffeinate had hired a contractor, who would be working near the gas lines. Kong Lee, the owner of the shop who was killed in the blast, unfortunately did not, and, as a result, the restaurant was full of customers during the explosion. Lee is currently the only listed causality. However, seventeen people have been injured, six of whom are currently in critical care.

Durham School of the Arts, a magnet high school, is a few buildings near what was the Kaffeinate, but, thankfully, no children or staff were injured. A few minutes after the explosion,  junior at the school stated, “I was outside and the whole school shook.”

An investigation is currently underway in order to find out what exactly went wrong, but, as of right now, authorities have concluded that the contractor hit a gas line. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured and their loved ones.