Warning: this is painful to see.
Durham, North Carolina is normally a peaceful place in the American South. At least it was until a fatal gas pipe explosion happened this past Wednesday morning. According to North Carolina Public Radio and CNN, one person has died and more than a dozen injured as a result of the explosion that was caused when workers struck a gas line. There were also several non-human victims: a rare Porsche collection.
The vehicles, part of the Ingram Collection, were reportedly housed in a building next to the one where the explosion took place. That building is also historical because it originally opened as a Studebaker dealership back in 1928. It closed in 1930 but was later used for a variety of businesses, among them an auto supply service, a restaurant, and a coffee shop. But the building next door housed the real historical treasures.
The Ingram Collection has been praised as one of the world’s largest collections of vintage Porsches. Even Porsche itself described it in 2015 as "a breathtaking review of automotive design history.”
It has at least 80 very rare and expensive Porsches. They range from the third oldest 356 to a 918 Spyder. Its owner, Bob Ingram, former CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, refused to comment. Overhead footage taken by local ABC news affiliate WDTV showed that several Porsches were damaged. The full extent of the damage is not yet known. Safety obviously comes first and the local fire department must ensure the building is structurally safe to enter.
A local witness to the explosion described it as sounding like a bomb. "The first second was stunned silence, then lots of scream(ing) in the building. Several of us shouted, 'Is anyone hurt?’” he said. "The injured were quickly taken to an exit.”
More details about the collection’s status will likely be available in the next few days, but it’s important to remember that these Porsches are merely objects. They are insurable and sometimes, but not always, replaceable.