Durham Gas Explosion Attorneys
1 Person Killed & 17 Injured in Downtown Durham Explosion
On Wednesday, April 10, an explosion in downtown Durham, NC killed at least 1 person and severely injured several more. The explosion also destroyed one building and damaged four more. The incident began with a gas leak, which was reported via 911 at 9:38 AM; personnel from the Durham Fire Department arrived shortly and began evacuating the Duke Street area.
First responders reportedly called for backup and solicited help from Dominion Energy after finding a “significant leak.” The explosion took place almost exactly 30 minutes after the initial 911 call. Witnesses reported that the explosion blew out the windows across the street from the leveled building, causing at least four people to suffer serious cuts and deep head wounds. Six people were reported to be in critical condition, with one person taken to the Jaycee Burn Center at the UNC School of Medicine. A total of 17 were hospitalized, including a firefighter.
“It was terrifying. The whole building shook. Things started falling—ceiling tiles, and structure and glass and debris. Lots and lots of dust. It was tough to see beyond 20 feet or so.”
In a press release about today’s gas explosion in Durham, Dominion Energy wrote that its child company PSNC received a call about “third-party” damage to a natural gas line. Someone from PSNC responded to the call shortly before the explosion was triggered. While still under investigation, the Durham Police Department initially said the leak was caused by a contractor who was drilling through the sidewalk when he or she hit a two-inch gas line.
Durham, NC Explosion Lawyers
In the above case, the explosion could be felt for blocks surrounding the destroyed building. Explosions are man-made events often with the same impact as natural disasters, causing injury and death in a wide radius. Today’s tragic gas explosion was no exception. Our Durham gas explosion attorneys are familiar with how “man-made” explosions really are: we’ve investigated some of the largest oil and gas explosions in the United States in recent years.
Our firm has advocated for workers who survived the 2014 Georgia Pacific factory explosion in Corrigan, the 2013 William Olefins explosion in Geismar, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, and the 2005 BP explosion in Texas City. What we find with every explosion is the same conclusion: companies value profit over public safety. Every one of these explosions could have been prevented had companies taken proper safety precautions, and because they didn’t, dozens of lives were ruined or changed forever.
In each of those cases, Arnold & Itkin helped our clients secure justice and financial support:
- $18.5 and $15.4 million verdicts for workers from the Geismar plant.
- $39.7 million verdict for the victim of the Georgia Pacific plant explosion.
- Billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements total for victims of negligence.
In every one of these cases, we represented injured workers who needed money for grievous injuries, lost limbs, and lifelong pain and suffering. Some of them had undergone multiple surgeries and looked forward to a lifetime of many more; others lost mobility or suffered a brain injury, forcing them to seek a new line of work. Some knew they would never make a living ever again. Our job was to make sure each and every one of these people were given the money they needed to get medical care, provide for their families, and rebuild their future.
Gas Explosion FAQ
Why did the Durham gas explosion happen?
Following a three-month investigation by the Durham Fire Department, the April 10, 2019 gas explosion that claimed two lives and injured 25 others was ruled an accident. The explosion struck about one hour after a contractor working for Optic Cable Technology struck a gas service line, causing a leak. Gas flowed out of the leak until it reached an ignition source, at which point the explosion occurred.
This incident was ruled an “accident” by the Durham Fire Department, but it could have been prevented if the contractor and the company he or she was working for had taken necessary steps to avoid striking gas lines. Gas lines should be located and flagged prior to any digging, particularly with power tools. Any person can call 811, the national call-before-you-dig number, or visit www.call811.com.
Why are gas explosions so dangerous?
Gas explosions can cause catastrophic damage in the initial blast and due to the resulting fire and release of chemicals into the air. The Durham, NC gas explosion of April 2019 leveled a building and damaged many others. It killed 1 person in the immediate blast and caused the death of another person 2 weeks later, who had been thrown about 20 feet in the explosion. 25 other people were injured. That explosion occurred after a two-inch pipeline had been leaking for an hour after a contractor accidentally struck it while boring a hole in the sidewalk. All a gas leak needs is an ignition source to become an explosion that can rock an entire community.
If a gas line explosion or leak damaged my home, what should I do?
If you or your property suffered harm from a gas line explosion or leak, you should talk to an attorney about your legal options. Trying to deal with the situation on your own can be overwhelming, and you may find that your insurance company or the gas company will do little to treat you with the care and respect you deserve. You may find that your claim is denied or that you’re offered barely enough money to pay for repairs and medical bills. An attorney can seek the full, fair compensation you need to rebuild.
Common Explosion Injuries
The most grievous explosion injuries are “primary blast injuries,” or injuries caused by the sudden over-pressurization of the air caused by the blast itself. Primary blast injuries can cause serious lung damage, traumatic brain injuries, or blindness from eye rupture. Blunt force trauma, particularly to the stomach, is also likely. Primary blast injuries are followed by secondary blast injuries, which are caused by flying debris. In the Durham gas explosion, the people who suffered head wounds from broken glass suffered secondary injuries. Tertiary and Quaternary blast injuries also have serious consequences.
The other common injuries caused by explosions are burn injuries. Our Durham explosion injury lawyers have worked with countless burn injury victims, and in each case we’ve found their injuries to be some of the most painful and long-lasting a person can suffer. Hospitalization costs for burns are more than most families can afford, and those costs don’t take into account lifelong healthcare for permanent burn injuries.
The Nation’s Leading Explosion Attorneys Serving Durham, NC
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our Durham gas explosion lawyers have stood with thousands of families in the wake of serious and life-changing tragedies. Explosions have countless consequences that harm, debilitate, or traumatize individuals and their loved ones. Whatever you’re facing, you don’t have to face it alone. Our attorneys can make sure you get the medical care you need while ensuring your family is taken care of. Just as importantly, we can file a claim that helps make sure this never happens ever again.
Our gas explosion firm in Durham has seen far too many companies get away with negligence and reckless corporate practices. Behind every ‘accident’ is a culture that values speed and efficiency over public health, and our job as attorneys is to uncover it and hold the company accountable. If you or a loved one were injured in the Durham gas explosion on April 10, speak with us. We can explain your legal and financial options while helping you get the care and support you need.
Call 888-493-1629 or contact us online to speak with an attorney in a free consultation. We’re more than happy to answer your questions and help you figure out what you need.