Gas Explosion Linked to Fiber Installation Brings Tragedy to Downtown Durham


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North Carolina

An investigation is underway after a gas explosion occurred in downtown Durham last Wednesday, which caused one death and at least twenty-five injuries.  Police say the explosion may be linked to a fiber cable installation.

Fiber Technologies Networks, LLC, owned by Crown Castle, holds the only active permit for utility work in the area, which was issued on June 27, 2018, and is valid through June 25, 2019, allowing the company to bore into the sidewalk and install fiber cables. The reason for the work, reported Indy Week, is to, “connect the cell tower to aerial antenna poles.”

In a statement issued by Crown Castle, Cathy Piche, area president said, “We are devastated by this tragic event and its impact on the Durham community. We grieve the loss of life, and our continued prayers go out to the people who were injured and their families. We are grateful for the first responders whose brave actions saved lives.”

“Fibertech Networks hired a contractor who was installing fiber in the area prior to the incident,” she added. “We have offered our full support and cooperation to Durham city officials. We are committed to working with the Mayor’s office to help the community recover.”

According to Deputy City Manager Bo Ferguson, a Charlotte-based engineering firm called Utilis submitted the permit on the company’s behalf and is responsible for all oversight. Ferguson said Fiber Technologies Networks had a valid license agreement with the city that was approved in 2016. Comments? Email Us.

April 15, 2019

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