No one hurt in oil tanks fire south of Williston; tanks being allowed to burn themselves out

IndustriesAssociated Press

Emergency officials in North Dakota's top oil-producing county have begun the new year battling a blaze at a crude storage facility and monitoring a well blowout that spewed several hundred barrels of crude before being contained early Friday.

McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson said no one was hurt when eight oil tanks containing about 1,000 barrels of oil burst into flames Thursday at an Enbridge Inc.-owned facility, about 9 miles north of Alexander. Four adjacent tanks containing an additional 1,200 barrels of oil caught fire early Friday but crews quickly extinguished that blaze, said Karolin Rockvoy, the county's emergency coordinator.

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Officials said the fire burned itself out shortly after noon on Friday.

Samuelson said crews were unloading an oil tanker truck containing about 120 barrels when the initial fire broke out. The exact cause of the blaze hasn't been determined.

Michael Barnes, a spokesman for Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge, said the eight tanks are owned by Tidal Energy Marketing LLC, an Enbridge subsidiary that markets crude oil. Those tanks were destroyed. Barnes did not know who owned the four adjacent tanks, which were damaged.

An oil tanker truck was destroyed in the blaze, he said.

All oil was contained at the site by existing protective dikes, he said.

The cost of cleanup and the financial loss to the company have not been determined, Barnes said.

Samuelson said officials also are monitoring a well blowout near Keen that occurred early Friday at a site owned by Petro Hunt LLC, of Dallas. Officials estimated that about 150 barrels of oil spewed from the well hourly between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., before the breach was stopped, he said.

Petrol Hunt officials did not immediately return telephone calls Friday seeking comment.

Dave Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Department of Health's environmental health section, said inspectors were traveling to the sites of the fire and at the well blowout Friday morning.


Information from: KXMC-TV,