Posted 9/21/11 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
An oil well explosion on Wednesday, Sept. 14, claimed the lives of two workers, while two more are still in critical condition at Regions Hospital Burn Center in St. Paul, Minn.
At 5:40 p.m. a well owned by Oasis Petroleum of Texas exploded while Carlson Well Service of Powers Lake was working on the well. The well is located on Indian Hill, just south of the Missouri River on County Road 4 in McKenzie County.
One man, Brendan Wegner, 21, of Montello, Wis., was burned to death at the site of the explosion.
The three other men that were severely injured in the accident, survived due to the quick work and valiant efforts of the other oilfield workers.
“The first responders to the scene of an oil well fire are the oilfield workers,” states McKenzie County Sheriff Ron Rankin. “They are the ones who assist the injured workers and call 911.”
According to Sheriff Rankin, in the case of this oil well fire, the injured men’s co-workers, after attending to them and alerting the Sheriff’s Department, transported them from the scene of the accident out to meet the rescue workers, in hopes of getting them to help that much faster. It worked.
Ray Hardy of Mohall, Doug Hysjulien of Williston and Michael Twinn of Tioga were transported to Mercy Medical Center by ambulance and then airlifted to Regions Hospital.
Hardy died sometime Thursday morning of injuries he received from the well fire, but Hysjulien and Twinn remain at the Burn Center in critical condition.
“The Sheriff’s Department’s job is to rule out criminal activity when these explosions occur,” states Sheriff Rankin. “After that, another organization usually takes over the scene.”
The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the North Dakota Office of Workforce Safety.