Durham Celebrates 150th Anniversary, Honors Blast Victims

Apr 12, 2019

Durham is celebrating its 150th anniversary while honoring the victims of a fatal explosion that happened on its birthday.

A statement released by the city notes that some of the planned events have changed.

"After this week's tragic event, with the utmost respect for the Lee family and others affected, Saturday will serve as a way for the community to be with one another in solidarity and commend the heroic actions of first responders," according to the statement. "Durham is a place known for its grit and perseverance. On the anniversary date of the City's incorporation, first responders and the community showed how it is #BullCityStrong in the face of great adversity and sadness."

The downtown Durham explosion happened after a gas line was cut. Kaffeinate coffee shop owner Kong Lee, 61, was killed in the explosion and 25 other were injured.

Durham on Saturday kicks off a year of celebrations marking 150 years since the one-time railroad depot between Raleigh and Hillsborough became a city unto itself on April 10, 1869.

Celebration organizers say that Saturday's celebration will remember the victims and honor the heroic response of police, firefighters and medics.