Durham community pitches in to help after explosion and fire

Josh Chapin Image
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Downtown Durham community rallies in hours after disaster
The Downtown Durham community rallied in the hours after the disaster. Josh Chapin reports.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some downtown Durham residents are out of their apartments Wednesday night after the explosion on North Duke Street.

"It shook the building completely," said Sarah Brady, who lives in West Village and also works downtown but not directly across from the explosion. "We thought maybe something was happening to our building. We could see the smoke immediately right outside our window."

Brady came out to find out she couldn't return for several hours but took it in stride.

"Honestly, I wasn't worried about my home or my apartment," she said. "I was just thinking people may be in the coffee shop but honestly my apartment didn't go through my mind really."

Other residents in West Village shared pictures of holes in their wall and cracked windows caused by the explosion.

The Toms Building at West Village is uninhabitable for now. PSNC has set up a help center at Maverick's Taproom where residents can pick up hotel vouchers.

Maverick's, in the meantime, opened Wednesday night to feed first responders.

"I was here a few minutes after 10 a.m., right before the explosion hit," said Adam Barron, chef at the Federal, which had windows blown out by the explosion.

Barron and another chef went to cook at Maverick's to help out even though they don't work there.

"Anytime anything happens whether it's good or bad, Durham seems to come together," said RJ St. John, another local chef. "This is what makes this town great. It's why so many people want to live there."

The Durham Bulls plan to have a moment of silence before Thursday's game.