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Clean-Up Continues Three Months After Deadly Durham Gas Explosion

 Demolition crews dismantle the building at 806 N. Duke St., next to the site of the April gas explosion in Durham, N.C.
Elizabeth Friend

The landscape of North Duke Street in Durham is slowly starting to change, three months after a deadly gas explosion tore apart a block near downtown.  

Demolition crews have leveled one building next to the site of the explosion at the Kaffeinate coffee shop. That address, 806 West Main Street, is the only one on the block with an active demolition permit, according to city records.

Three of the remaining structures along West Main and North Duke streets were condemned by the city after the explosion. None of the property owners contacted wanted to discuss their plans for the buildings. Durham officials say it's up to private property owners to complete any clean up or repair.

Two people were killed and more than two dozen injured on April 10, when a worker struck a gas line triggering an explosion and fire at 115 North Duke Street.

Elsewhere in Durham, more than a dozen buildings were damaged by the blast.

A representative for West Village Apartments across the street from the explosion site said three buildings in the complex sustained damage.  All residents were able to return shortly after, but it took time to fabricate specially-ordered windows and gain approval from the Historic Preservation Committee before installing the new windows. Despite the delays, the apartment management company expects all repairs to be completed within 60 days.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identifed the address of the building that has already been leveled after the explosion.

Elizabeth Friend grew up in North Carolina listening to public radio in the backseat of the family station wagon. She has been reporting and producing at WUNC since 2016, covering everything from Army history to armadillos. She's also the co-founder of the beloved summer event series Audio Under The Stars. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the outside world with her family, dabbling in esoteric crafts, and cheese.
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