Local News

Durham Bank Explodes

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Guaranty State Bank was closed when the blast occurred
DURHAM — A bank in Durham has been reduced to rubbleafter a gas explosion Sunday blew brick and insulation right off thestructure. The reverberation and sound were so powerful, people from twomiles away arrived to survey the damage.

It happened about 5:30 p.m. at Guaranty State Bank at 2313 EastN.C.54 near the Research Triangle Park.

No one was hurt and the bank vault that holds all the customers'important documents and money was not damaged.

Many observers said it was lucky the blast occurred when the bank wasclosed, and when no one happened to be driving close by the building. Fourcaved-in walls and the roof's frame were all that was left of thestructure. A column of flame also shot up at the rear of the building.Firefighters spent 45 minutes ensuring that the flames were contained.

Area residents reported that windows at their homes rattled, or theirentire homes shook. Linda Overman, who lives at the intersection of AlstonAvenue and Isenhour Street, toldThe News & Observershe wasgiving her cat a bath when the building blew up. "I thought it was a caraccident for a minute," she said. "It shook my whole house."

Ronald Pierce was spending a quiet Sunday when the blast shook hishouse, and he headed out to see what had happened.

Investigators on the scene suspect a natural gas leak may have caused theexplosion.

Traffic was blocked until almost 8:30 p.m., when Public Service Companyof NC turned the gas off.

The bank branch opened in April. The bank will probably rebuild on thesite.

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