Social media first frenzy, then support for Durham after downtown explosion

Durham County News
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In this photo released by Jim Rogalski, firefighters help injured people after a building exploded, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Durham, N.C. (Jim Rogalski via AP)

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Social media was a frenzy — similar to the scene in downtown Durham — after an explosion killed one person, injured 17 others, and destroyed a business.

Ken Huth and his son Colin are photographers. They were at an event celebrating Durham’s 150th anniversary on Wednesday morning. 

“It was a thud, a huge thud,” Ken Huth said. “[It was] like when you’re at a Civil War re-enactment. It felt like just right below you on the street, a cannon went off.” 

Immediately, the Huths went to their cameras and to social media. 

“In a second, it went from polite conversation and excitement to dead silence,” Colin Huth said. “We felt this guttural thump and heard that boom sound. Even before you fully identify it, you can just feel that something really wrong happened.”

They hoped to give and get information about what happened downtown. 

“All we’re just trying to see is what sort of an issue this was in our city,” Ken Huth said. “Where can you go, where can’t you go, what’s going on? Are people we know okay? So, immediately, I started right at Twitter.” 

Like the Huths, lots of others went to social media, as well, to capture the aftermath of the explosion.

The Huths had many on their mind, especially clients who they said work right near the explosion. 

“From what I can see near the footage that has been posted, the windows from their building have been blown out,” Ken Huth said. “I’m concerned.”

Duke University Chapel officials tweeted an invitation for all impacted to light a candle, or to pray, meditate, or reflect.

“We’ve have had more than 400 people come into the chapel today,” Duke Chapel Communications Manager James Todd said. “A few people have reached out and said you know we’re here because of this gas explosion.”

Those like the Huths said they’re trying to move forward. 

“I think this is going to be another case we’ll look back on when Durham came together and tried to grow stronger together because of it,” Colin Huth said. 

Duke officials told CBS 17 that the Duke Chapel will be open starting at 8 a.m. Thursday. 
They’re inviting anyone affected by the explosion to come pray, meditate or reflect. 

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