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Duke employees hurt in Wednesday's explosion rises to 10, downtown offices still closed

<p>Crews worked at the site of the explosion throughout Thursday.&nbsp;</p>

Crews worked at the site of the explosion throughout Thursday. 

Ten Duke employees were injured in the explosion in downtown Durham Wednesday, a Duke official confirmed Thursday afternoon.

According to Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, all Duke employees were accounted for after the explosion at 115 North Duke Street Wednesday morning. A total of 10—nine working in Duke offices and one on the street at the time—were injured, but none seriously, Schoenfeld wrote in an email to The Chronicle. The 10 were treated at the scene or at the hospital, he wrote.

"All Duke employees in the buildings directly impacted by the blast were evacuated, as were those in nearby buildings," Schoenfeld wrote. "All total, more than 600 Duke employees were relocated yesterday."

The explosion destroyed a building on North Duke and Main Streets directly across the street from a leased building that housed Duke offices, he wrote. 

According to a Duke emergency status update Thursday morning, the Duke offices downtown at 710 West Main Street and 700 West Main Street remain closed. Other Duke downtown buildings are open, including Chesterfield, where classes are being held. However, the downtown shuttle route has been modified.

Schoenfeld wrote that 710 West Main Street sustained the most damage, and that it and 700 West Main Street will be closed for assessments and repairs.

"Employees in those buildings have been relocated to other Duke offices," he wrote.

Durham Fire Chief Robert Zoldos said that 115 North Duke Street, which housed Kaffeinate and company Prescient, and 806 West Main Street have been condemned at a Thursday afternoon press briefing. Torero's Mexican Restaurant, Triangle Brewing, Saint James Seafood and Duke offices at 710 West Main Street have no occupancy restrictions. Zoldos said previously that at least 15 buildings were damaged by the explosion.

The explosion was caused by a gas leak, which occurred when a contractor was boring under the sidewalk and hit a gas line.

According to WRAL, five patients were at Duke Hospital Thursday. One of the patients was in good condition, two were in serious condition and two were in critical condition, WRAL reported. 

Schoenfeld wrote that Duke Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital activated their mass casualty plans and provided care to the injured, including several first responders following the explosion.

"The Duke emergency response team under Kyle Cavanaugh’s leadership mobilized quickly, as drilled, and provided wide-ranging services from communications and transportation to office relocation and road closings to speed the wounded to the hospitals," Schoenfeld wrote, referring to the vice president for administration. "The Duke family came together with Durham to support one another, and to restore our community."

The explosion site, which occurred in downtown Durham near West Village, was filled with responders working.&nbsp; Aaron Zhao

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