Fatal Gas Explosion Near North Carolina Porsche Collection (Updating)

Illustration for article titled Fatal Gas Explosion Near North Carolina Porsche Collection (Updating)

A massive gas explosion in Durham, N.C. tragically killed one and sent over a dozen others to the hospital this morning. For hardcore Porsche-fetishists, the Ingram Collection next door is widely regarded as one of the best stockpiles of old Porsches, and looks like some historic cars have been severely damaged.


We reached out to Phil Whitehead, the General Manager of Road Scholars, who helps manage and maintain the Ingram collection. Phil told me that, thankfully, no one was at the facility at the time of the explosion, and so far they haven’t been permitted to go to the site to assess the damage. He expects to be able to evaluate things later in the afternoon, so we’ll update with any new information.

Based on pictures from the scene, it does appear that the Ingram building sustained some damage. Here’s a picture of the building from Google Maps:

Illustration for article titled Fatal Gas Explosion Near North Carolina Porsche Collection (Updating)

...and here’s a tweet showing the same buildings from 10:38 AM this morning:

As you can see, a significant portion of the Ingram Collection’s building has sustained major damage, though nowhere near the amount that the Studebaker Building next door suffered as a result of the gas explosion.


The area around the explosion site is still closed, with traffic being re-routed around the area.

Here’s more from WRAL:

The city of Durham said that firefighters were dispatched to a gas leak at 9:38 a.m. to the 100 block of North Duke Street, where contractors were drilling with a mole and struck a 2-inch natural gas line.

In a statement, Dominion Energy said that a PSNC Energy employee responded to a call about damage to the line before the explosion occurred at 10:07 a.m. Flames broke out, and the building partially collapsed.

Additional PSNC crews arrived at 10:26 a.m. and shut off gas to the area around 11:10 a.m., Dominion Energy said.

A city of Durham spokeswoman said that buildings directly around the explosion were evacuated.


We will update this story with more information as soon as we get it.

UPDATE: Based on this tweet, it does seem like we can confirm at least some of the cars in the collection have suffered damage:

Illustration for article titled Fatal Gas Explosion Near North Carolina Porsche Collection (Updating)

The red car with the “36" racing number is easy enough to identify, this old 1959 356A Carerra GT Speedster:

Illustration for article titled Fatal Gas Explosion Near North Carolina Porsche Collection (Updating)
Photo: Road Scholars

Correction (Wednesday April 10, 3:23 pm): It appears that only one person was killed, not two, as reported earlier by WRAL.

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I’m probably going to be dumped on if this comment reaches high enough to be read, but... this is to me a bit in poor taste to report on so soon? I mean, yeah, this a car news blog. But man, a building blew up and multiple people died. It just so happens that a neighboring building had some old cars in it, and those old cars may have been damaged, and more than likely they can be fixed even if they were. Those people are gone and their families and communities lives just changed forever.

It would be one thing if the warehouse full of historical cars blew up, but it just seems sort of callous to pick up a tragic news story because it tangentially relates to some old cars.

Flame away, I got my suit on and am ready for it. Ready to hear I’m fun at parties and to lighten up Francis yada yada.