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Explosion injures two at oil well site

Posted 8/29/12 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

An explosion at an oil well site located between Alexander and Arnegard severely burned two men who later had to be transported by air ambulance to a burn center in St. Paul, Minn.
According to the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, there was an explosion at a Statoil oil well site, located in the SE SW of Section 20, T151N, R100W.
Bruce Ford, 52, and Rod Law, 48, were working on the well site at the time of the explosion.
Jim Larson, of the Arnegard Fire Department, states that the Arnegard Fire Department first responded to the incident, and by the time his truck arrived on the scene, the fire had burned out on its own.
“My understanding is that the men were working on a well tank that was empty except for gas fumes,” states Larson. “Those fumes were somehow ignited, which caused the explosion.”
Larson’s statement was confirmed by Ola Morten Aanestad, Statoil vice president, who explained that the two men were contractors performing maintenance on a production site for Statoil.
“A vapor from the tank was ignited,” states Aanestad. “We will perform an investigation into the incident so we can learn how this happened.”
Aanestad states that the company is first concerned for the two men injured in the explosion and hopes they recover. Statoil also wants to learn from the investigation so they can avoid similar incidents in the future.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation by the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office.
Ford and Law were badly burned in the explosion and were transported to Mercy Medical Center by the McKenzie County Ambulance Service.
While at Mercy Hospital, the men were stabilized and then transported by air ambulance to Regions Medical Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Responding to the scene was the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department, the Watford City Fire Department, the Arnegard Fire Department, and the McKenzie County Ambulance Service.