Durham explosion: Some survivors will need long-term care

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Some explosion victims to need long-term care.
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Jay Rambeaut, a Dominion Energy worker, faces a long road to recovery.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some of the survivors of the gas explosion in Durham will need long term care, according to family and friends.

Don Smith is the CEO of PS Splicing, a telecommunications firm in Oxford.

Last Wednesday morning, Smith was checking on the installation of fiber lines by the Prescient Building at 115 North Duke St.

Just before the explosion, Smith was helping people evacuate, Rodney Fields, an executive at the firm, told our newsgathering partner, the News & Observer.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the downtown Durham explosion

According to Fields, "(Smith) lost part of his ear, lost his eye, 45 percent of his body is burned, broken ribs, collapsed lung and his shoulder's tore up pretty bad."

A second victim who remains in the hospital is Jay Rambeaut of Creedmoor.

His sister-in-law, Donna Jackson, told ABC11 that he is being moved from Duke University Hospital to N.C. Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Jackson said the 51-year-old Rambeaut works as a First Responder Locator for Dominion Energy. She said Rambeaut was called to the scene Wednesday morning just before the explosion to shut off the gas.

Jackson said Rambeaut remains unconscious with a severe head injury.

"While we don't know what we're facing in the days, months and years ahead, we know right now here today ... he is still with us because of the quick action from everyone -- the 911 communicators to the first responders -- to the trauma doctors at Duke Hospital and we're so appreciative of that. The outpouring of love and support of human care of people that don't even know him."

Jackson's family has set up a GoFundMe page to support Rambeaut's medical expenses, long-term care, and the family's lost wages. He has a wife and 19-year-old son.

A total of four people remain in area hospitals.