Crews begin digging up pipe from Durham gas explosion

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Crews are getting closer to learning what caused a natural gas explosion in downtown Durham.

Nearly a month since the April 10 blast, and after weeks of delays in excavating the site, investigators are ready to dig up the gas line for clues.

The process will be slow and deliberate, according to the NC Utilities Commission. Officials say it will mirror a forensic investigation.

The commission's goal is to determine if the pipe was punctured and hit by a utility company that was drilling on April 10.

Examiners will look for any flaws or breaks that could suggest such error.

PSNC/Dominion Energy worker and the owner of Kaffeinate coffeeshop died as a result of the gas explosion.

More than two dozen were injured, including emergency personnel.

Right now, the state's labor department is investigating several utility and communication agencies, including the Durham Fire Department and staff at Kaffeinate Coffee shop.

The entities include:

  • Durham Fire Department

  • PSNC Energy dba Dominion Energy NC

  • Optic Cable Technology Inc.

  • PS Splicing

  • Tower Engineering

  • Crown Castle

  • Kaffeinate Inc.


The labor department wants to know if crews followed procedures at North Duke Street by marking the utility lines and drilling around them.

Officials also want to see if everyone in the area properly evacuated.

After the commission reviews the pipe and determines what happened, officials will file a report for the public to review.

ABC11 has been told that reports cannot be used to assist in any civil or criminal action.
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