On April 10, 2019, at approximately 10:00 a.m., a building in Durham, North Carolina exploded. According to one witness, a first responder during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the after-effects of the explosion reminds him of “the front of the Pentagon on 9/11.” The gas explosion shook and blew out the windows of other buildings across the street. At least four people working in cubicles along those windows suffered deep cuts, bloody head wounds, and other injuries.
The Toll (So Far)
So far, the gas explosion put 17 people in the hospital—six are in critical condition and one victim had to be transported to a burn center.
According to Durham Police Department spokesman Willie ‘Wil’ Glenn, the explosion was triggered by a contractor boring under a sidewalk when he hit a 2-in gas line. It is unclear at this time whether there was any surface markings associated with the exploding pipeline. The company working on the sidewalk has not yet been identified.
The Underground Utility Safety Damage Prevention Act
In 2013, North Carolina passed the Underground Utility Safety Damage Prevention Act. The Act was passed as a matter of public policy. The State of North Carolina deemed it necessary to protect the citizens and workforce of North Carolina from the dangers inherent in excavating or demolishing in areas where underground lines, systems, or infrastructure are buried beneath the surface of the ground. It is unclear if any of the parties associated with the explosion failed to adhere to the provisions of the act.
When gas companies or excavators are negligent, people often get hurt with tragic consequences. Morrow & Sheppard LLP is comprised of personal injury lawyers and handle cases involving burns and other catastrophic injuries.