Dominion Energy employee critically hurt in NC explosion dies, officials say

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A Dominion Gas employee critically injured in a fatal gas explosion on April 10 in downtown Durham has died, UNC Hospital officials confirmed Thursday morning.

Jay Rambeaut is the second person to die in connection with the massive explosion that rocked downtown Durham.

Kong Lee, 61, the owner of the Kaffeinate coffee shop, was killed in the explosion.

CBS 17 spoke with Rambeaut’s family the week after he was injured and they talked about how they didn’t even know if he was still alive in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

“It was several hours later before we realized he was alive,” said Donna Jackson, Rambeaut’s sister-in-law.

Jackson saw the images on TV.

“You’re almost gut punched there for a minute. You just, you can’t breathe. You don’t know what to do,” she said.

Investigators said crews installing fiber hit a gas line. Firefighters responded and started evacuating people.

Jackson said Rambeaut is a first responder locator with Dominion Gas. That means he’s called in to turn off the gas when there’s a leak. She said that’s what he was doing last Wednesday morning.

“Six broken ribs and each is broken in several places. Two fractures to his sternum and some type of debris in his brain,” Jackson said.

She said his body was covered in shrapnel. His right eye, ear, and arm were also hurt.

Rambeaut had undergone five surgeries in the week following the explosion.

An update provided earlier this week on a GoFundMe page set up for Rambeaut and his family said he was “Starting to breathe more on his own,” but that they were “still waiting for him to open his eyes.”

Hospital officials did not say whether he died Wednesday or on Thursday morning.

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