Dozens gather to honor victims of Durham explosion

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Bull City gathered as one Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil.

Dozens attended to remember those affected by last week's explosion, especially Kong Lee, who owned Kaffeinate.

"This was more than a coffee shop," said one organizer. "They were morning rituals, mid-day pick-me-ups, remote workspaces, first dates and after-school hangouts."

Renwei Chung lives in West Village across the street and got to know Mr. Lee.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the deadly Durham explosion

"I think his modus operandi was really a textbook case on how you foster and promote a community of diversity and inclusion," Chung said. "He was very intentional on how he promoted such a welcoming atmosphere."

Last week Chung even wrote an Op-Ed in the Durham Herald-Sun.

"It's been surreal," he said. "It's hard to imagine someone who became such a pillar to this community is gone," he wrote.

Most of the attendees live in West Village.

Meantime down West Morgan Street, Jennifer Oldham is trying to get her fencing club back to normal.

Mid-South Fencers' Club had its doors blown out and lights even came down from the ceiling during the incident.

"Nothing structural, thankfully," Oldham said.

Her 13-year-old was in class at Durham School of the Arts at the time of the explosion.

"The first thing that goes through your mind is a bombing or is that a shooting," she said. "I was also thinking there could be another gas explosion so I was just trying to figure out the timeline of making sure he was secure."

She said everyone in the community has wanted to help as they determine what to do about parking. Their main parking lot across the street is unusable and they don't know how long that might be.

"We are a safe location," said Oldham. "Kids come over here after school and they couldn't walk here that day, which is unnerving to many of them."
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