Update on Impacts from Downtown Explosion

 April 10, 2019

TO:  Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:  Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President for Administration, Emergency Coordinator
RE:  Update on Impacts from Downtown Explosion

As a result of the explosion at 115 N. Duke St. earlier today, about 500 Duke faculty and staff in the immediate area were temporarily relocated or reassigned to other locations.

There were several employees injured from shattered glass during the explosion, and we are working to treat and care for those individuals. Duke colleagues responded quickly and admirably to get help for their injured co-workers, and we are grateful for their assistance and the efforts of all first responders. The coordinated efforts among Durham officials, Duke Police, and Duke University Health System is exceptional and helped address immediate needs and mitigate further impact.

While a majority of Duke buildings downtown Durham will be open tomorrow, those closest to explosion will likely remain closed and individuals will not be allowed in the area. We are waiting for clearance from the city regarding the buildings that were impacted or closed today. We will coordinate communications with affected units once decisions regarding access to those buildings has been determined. Plans are underway to secure temporary space where necessary for buildings that were damaged or will be inaccessible in the immediate future. Decisions about the status of worksites, temporary relocation or reassignment for those working in buildings that are closed will be made by the appropriate school or department management teams. Employees will be asked to contact and coordinate with their supervisors for details as appropriate.

The Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is available for individual appointments or group meetings for those who need support. Students who need support should be encouraged to contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). Duke Chapel will also be open today until 10 p.m. for prayer, meditation, and reflection for the welfare of Durham and those affected by the gas explosion near downtown.

Updates will continue to be posted on the DukeALERT website as information becomes available. Thank you for being available to your staff and students during the critical events today and the lingering impacts that may follow.