A vast Porsche sports car collection described as “one of the best in the country” was located at the Durham site that exploded Wednesday, killing one person and injuring 17 others.
It was not yet clear Wednesday afternoon how many of collector Bob Ingram’s sports cars were in the building on N. Duke Street at the time. Aerial footage revealed multiple damaged cars through a large hole in the roof of the building.
The explosion just after 10 a.m. was blamed on a gas leak, according to The News & Observer.
Ingram, a retired pharmaceuticals executive, was visiting the site midday Wednesday to inspect the extent of the damage, his assistant Karen Pottebaum told the News & Observer.
Ingram was credited with having “a trove” of Porsches “well hidden in the Durham ... city centre” in a 2015 story on Porsche.com.
“There are 80 vehicles in this star parade, lined up in a custom show space whose red brick facade gives no indication of the prizes inside,” said the article.
“It is a breathtaking review of automotive design history, reaching from the 918 Spyder back to the third oldest 356 model still in existence, built in Gmünd in Austria’s Kärnten region,” the article from Porsche.com continued.
Hagerty.com says highlights of “The Ingram Collection” include: a 918 Spyder, Carrera GT, Cayman GT4, Rothmans-livery 962 and a 1955 Spyder.
Ingram is a retired GlaxoSmithKline executive, according to Porsche Southpoint, and he and his wife, Jeanie, began collecting Porsches after “a trip to the Monterey Historic Automobile Races in 1998.”
The couple have since created a collection that details “Porsche’s sports car history though distinctive and often unique examples of their road going cars,” says Porsche Southpoint.
The collection includes cars from the 1950s and 1960s, said the web site.
Durham County tax records show Ingram has purchased at least 10 Porsches in the past three years, including a 1967 Porsche 911.
Witnesses reported the explosion sent “flames and a plume of smoke high into the air and turning a building into rubble,” reported the News & Observer.
Zachery Eanes and David Raynor from The News & Observer contributed to this story.