A PSNC employee injured trying to stop the gas leak that prompted an explosion in Durham earlier this month has died.
A UNC Hospitals spokesperson confirmed Jay Rambeaut’s death to the INDY, bringing the number of people killed by the April 10 blast to two. Kong Lee, the owner of the Kaffeinate coffee shop, which occupied the first floor of the building where the explosion happened, was killed and at least twenty-five others were injured. Among the injured were nine firefighters, eight of whom are back to work.
According to a GoFundMe page to help the Rambeaut family, he had “responded to turn the gas off like he had done hundreds of times before” when the North Duke Street explosion occurred.
WRAL reported that Rambeaut, in addition to burns, suffered a fractured skull and extensive injuries from debris flung by the blast. The TV station also reported that Rambeaut was a father and had worked for PSNC Energy for twenty years as a first responder.
The gas leak was triggered when a contractor laying fiber cable struck a natural gas line. What sparked the gas, causing the explosion, is still under investigation. The contractor that ruptured the line has not been identified. An executive of PS Splicing LLC, which reported the damage to the line and had also alerted 811 it would be working in the area, was also seriously injured in the blast.
Utility officials are expected to unearth the gas line soon as part of a state investigation into how the gas leak occurred.