Gas line excavation expected soon in Durham explosion investigation

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new phase of the investigation into the deadly Durham gas explosion begins Tuesday.

State investigators are expected to arrive Tuesday at the blast site. Together the Fire Marshal and North Carolina Utilities Commission will work to determine exactly what caused the explosion and who is responsible.

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Meanwhile, the City of Durham and Dominion Energy received a permit to excavate the area where the gas line was hit. That excavation is expected to start in the coming days; it's unclear how long it will take.

"We know what a tough time this has been in Durham for the last 12 days," Mayor Steve Schewel said. "It's really important now that all of us in Durham rally around these businesses.

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Durham Mayor Steve Schewel speaks about economic recovery in the Brightleaf District.

A dozen businesses were damaged in the blast. All of them, except those in condemned buildings, have reopened for business.

Gov. Roy Cooper is asking for federal dollars from the U.S. Small Business Administration to support business impacted. If approved, each business could receive up $2 million in loans.

The city also said several fundraisers set up to support victims and businesses have raised $250,000.
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