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Edwards Kirby Files Four Lawsuits Over Fatal Gas Explosion in Durham

Edwards Kirby, LLP has filed four separate lawsuits on behalf of victims who were injured or killed by a fatal gas explosion in downtown Durham last year.

The lawsuits, filed on Monday, June 22, 2020, in Durham County Superior Court, stem from a gas line explosion near the Kaffeinate coffee shop on North Duke Street on April 10, 2019. The blast and subsequent fire damaged over a dozen buildings, injured at least 25 people, and killed two victims – including Kong Y. Lee, the owner of Kaffeinate.

Edwards Kirby is representing the family of Mr. Lee in a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as three other victims who were injured when the explosion occurred.

Read more about the lawsuits on this press release from Attorney Bill Bystrynski.

According to a Durham Fire Department investigation, the explosion happened when a drilling contractor hired as part of a fiber cable installation project accidentally ruptured a natural gas line located five feet outside of the Kaffeinate coffee shop.

Although investigators say gas flowed from the ruptured line for an hour, they found no evidence that anyone from the drilling company called 911 to report the leak.

As Attorney David Kirby notes:

“This tragedy was caused by a cascade of errors. The gas line would not have been ruptured if standard safety protocols were followed by all the contractors involved in the planning and execution of a major underground cable installation project in downtown Durham.”

The lawsuits name eight separate companies as defendants, and claim that a series of failures led to the explosion.

Our legal team at Edwards Kirby will aggressively litigate as we look to hold at-fault parties accountable for their alleged negligence, and financially responsible for the damages suffered by our clients and their families.