DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Bull City is coming together to help the community get back on its feet.
Many in Durham are collecting donations and the city is offering economic support to anyone who took a financial hit following Wednesday deadly gas explosion.
A whole block of businesses in downtown Durham are still shut down, some permanently.
“It was super powerful, thunderous, shook my chest,” said Fergus Bradley, the owner of Maverick’s Smokehouse and Taproom.
Bradley says as soon as he heard the blast he ran to help.
“Looked to the right and saw the fireball from the former Kaffeniate Cafe and people on the street bloodied and injured,” said Bradley.
His business had minimal damage, but Saturday is the first day they are open to the public. He and other local businesses have been feeding first responders.
“I guess the silver lining of the whole thing is the wonderful pulling together of Durham’s community,” Bradley said.
The Bull City Bike Rally is collecting donations to help people impacted by the tragedy. They also made sure not to bring in any food trucks so they wouldn’t compete with restaurants downtown.
“Everything is sort of turned upside down so we hope we can help in some way,” said Ed Compton, General Manager at Raging Bull Harley Davidson.
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development in Durham is getting involved too.
Business counselors are helping affected business owners come up with a recovery plan. Most of their services are free. They can also help employees who lost their jobs because of the disaster.
“We’re not here just for today that’s the other thing,” said LaShon Harley, Director of the Small Business Center at Durham Technical Community College.
“Sometimes you’ll hear from a lot of people when the tragedy first happens. We are here for the duration of your business because we want you to be viable, profitable and sustainable,” Harley said.
The business counselors will be back at the Chesterfield again on Monday to help any local business owners and employees in need.