Businesses hopeful normalcy isn’t far away six months after Durham explosion

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Businesses near Duke Street and Main Street in downtown Durham are still recovering six months after the deadly explosion that happened on April 10th.

The blast that officials said was caused by a gas leak, left two dead, dozens hurt, and more than 20 businesses damaged.

Jose Arias owns Torero’s Mexican Restaurant and he recalls the moment the explosion happened.

“I hear a strong noise and it starts shaking a little bit and then I’m running,” Arias said.

Arias is still making repairs to his restaurant and he said its been hard being closed for six months.

“It’s kind of difficult, I had to work in another restaurant a little bit, and my employees had to find other jobs,” Arias said.

Down the street at St. James Seafood, owner Matt Kelly said it hasn’t been easy for them to get back on their feet. They have been closed for six months as well.

“When restaurants close you’re not bringing in any revenue,” Kelly said.

Both restaurants told CBS 17 they have received disaster funds.

Durham One Fund created by the United Way of the Greater Triangle has also provided a total of $190,000 to 37 victims impacted by the explosion.

“Some of those individuals are connected to a business,” said Kaia Clark, Leader of Philanthropy for the United Way of the Greater Triangle. “They may have been employees at a business, or they could have been individual members that were standing along the sidewalks or driving by.” 

As for Toreros, normalcy isn’t far away, as they plan to reopen in December.

“I’m happy to be opening again,” Arias said.

As for St. James Seafood, they will be reopening in January.

“There have been challenges when something like this occurs,” Kelly said. “As much as I am excited about St. James reopening and getting back on its feet, I’m excited for the neighborhood to get back on its feet.”

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