For those documenting the response to the building explosion and fire and collapse in downtown Durham on the morning of April 10, 2019, here are some details on the response of the Raleigh Fire Department. Both the regional haz-mat and USAR teams were activated by the state, to respond to the incident at 115 Duke Street in Durham.
Regional Response Team 4, operated by the Raleigh FD, responded with Haz-Mat 2 (from Station 29), Haz-Mat 3 (recon unit from Sta 8), Haz-Mat 4 (decon unit from Sta 25), Haz-Mat 5 (support unit from Sta 27), Battalion 3, and Car 55, the Haz-Mat Coordinator. They responded with thirteen firefighters.
The haz-mat team provided air monitoring support to the Durham FD and monitored for natural gas in the multiple buildings surrounding the collapse site, as well as the surrounding sewer system. After they finished, Haz-Mat 3 and Car 55 remained on scene to continue providing air monitoring support for USAR operations.
Task Force 8 responded with USAR 1, USAR 2, USAR 6 (communications), USAR 7 (tractor-drawn flatbed with shoring materials), [those four units from the Keeter Training Center], USAR 801 (swift-water unit from Sta 21, used for personnel transport). Thirty-four members were deployed from the member agencies: Raleigh FD (14), Durham FD (3), Chapel Hill FD (11), Wake County EMS (3), and Atlas Engineering (3).
After their arrival, checking with command, and conducting a 360 of the scene, the USAR members were divided into five teams, with tasks including entry and searching void spaces with search cameras in a second building (and the one most impacted by the blast), surveying and conducting secondary searches of additional buildings on the block, assisting with escorting occupants of evacuated buildings (and retrieving personal effects), and assisting with victim removal from the blast building.
All units had returned to the Raleigh city limits by 8:00 p.m. and began demobilizing.
Photo credit: Raleigh Fire Department.