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Utility worker injured in Durham gas explosion has died

Emergency radio traffic sketches out sequence of events in Durham explosion

Fire and police radio traffic give the sequence of events leading up to the gas explosion at 115 N. Duke St. in Durham, NC on April 10, 2019.
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Fire and police radio traffic give the sequence of events leading up to the gas explosion at 115 N. Duke St. in Durham, NC on April 10, 2019.

The utility worker injured in the downtown Durham gas explosion on April 10 has died, UNC Medical Center confirmed Thursday.

Jay Rambeaut was injured in the explosion at 115 N. Duke St. The explosion happened at 10:07 a.m. that day, killing Kong Lee, the owner of Kaffeinate coffee shop. Twenty-five others, including nine firefighters. were injured.

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Rambeaut, 51, of Creedmoor worked as a first responder locator for Dominion (PSNC) Energy, according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.

His sister-in-law told ABC11 he was called to the gas leak on North Duke Street to turn off the gas.

911 calls before the explosion

A person called 911 at 9:11 a.m. April 10 to report the smell of gas near the North Duke and Morgan streets intersection. Firefighters responded but did not detect gas. Another 911 call came in at 9:37 a.m. from a contractor laying fiber who said he had hit a gas line.

Durham officials said earlier this week that eight of the nine firefighters injured in the blast have returned to work, The News & Observer previously reported.

How to help

United Way of the Greater Triangle has created a Durham One Fund to “help re-build lives impacted by loss, injury, and disruption.” The Durham Bulls will host “Bull City Strong Day” at the May 1 game. First responders will receive free tickets to the 10:35 a.m. game. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the United Way’s Durham One Fund.

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