New 3D images show gas explosion in Durham moments after it happened

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
New 3D images released of Durham gas explosion
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New 3D images released of Durham gas explosion.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- 3D pictures obtained by ABC11 show the massive impact of the gas explosion in Durham.

Police snapped the images using a new technology called Faro.

One hour after the blast, this device immediately scanned several locations around the destruction.

Each scan analyzes millions of points, which generate vivid images of the scene, according to DPD traffic crash investigator Jonathan Bell. He said the technology can measure the distance between objects and even revisit the aftermath.

"I can click on these marks and walk through the scene seamlessly. And see everything the way that it was when it happened," Bell said.

The April 10 explosion rocked an entire downtown block of North Duke Street.

The devastation injured more than two dozen people and killed Kaffeinate coffee shop owner Kong Lee and Jay Rambeaut, a Dominion Energy employee rushing to shut off the gas.

Although Faro is helping firefighters investigate their role and response to the explosion, DPD's primary use of the device is for traffic crashes.

"In any investigation it is important to document evidence as it is whenever it actually happens," Bell said.

That's because things change. Three months after the explosion, North Duke Street is open to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, though cleanup continues.

But the buildings impacted, for the most part, remain the same until property owners decide what's next.

Durham firefighters are expected to release a report on how they handled the emergency.

That report is expected to be available next week.