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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Slow North Dakota city fire alert raises concern    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A more efficient system must be established to alert residents of danger in North Dakota's booming oil patch, an emergency manager and residents said, after authorities failed to alert the public for more than six hours when a facility storing toxic chemicals exploded. No one was injured or killed in the explosion and fire that started around midnight Monday and raged for much of Tuesday at the Red River Supply plant, located about half a mile from downtown Williston. The blaze shot fireballs into the air and a plume of smoke prompted the cancellation of flights for several hours. "They should have done more," said Aaron Volesky, a resident in the city of 20,000 people. The fire was the latest of a lengthening list of incidents involving the state's booming energy sector, including oil train explosions, saltwater spills and fires at facilities caused by lightning strikes. State and local agencies have struggled to ensure safety and regulate the rapidly growing industry. Volesky heard what he thought was thunder and walked outside his home early Tuesday to find fireballs and smoke filling the sky. His route to work was blocked later that day without notice. Officials say the blaze began about midnight Monday. The first press release about the situation was issued more than six hours later at 6:24 a.m. Tuesday. State records show the facility stored dozens of chemicals, many of which likely burned in the fire, according to Williams County Emergency Manager Mike Hallesy.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Minot: Fire Damages Holiday Park Mobile Home    view comments tweat me share on facebook
VIDEO: A mobile home in Holiday Park was destroyed by fire this morning. Minot Rural Fire Chief Rex Weltikol says the fire started in the living room near the main entrance and had burnt into the floor joists, making it a fire that took longer to extinguish. He says no one was at home at the time, there were no injuries and surrounding structures were spared. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
KXNet-TV ND News Network

Federal officials investigate explosion: Cleanup in Williston could take weeks    view comments tweat me share on facebook
After Tuesday’s fire at an oil industry company, federal officials were on the ground doing air sampling and monitoring, and setting their sights on a cleanup that could take weeks. Hazardous materials teams have been monitoring the area after a series of explosions caused flames to shoot 500 feet in the air at Red River Supply, which provides fluids and other materials for the oil drilling industry, just east of downtown Williston early Tuesday. “The good news is that there is no indication that there are significant levels outside the (half mile) evacuation zone,” Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinator Paul Peronard said Wednesday. Peronard arrived about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to find firefighters spraying hot spots. An hour later, he said, five fixed monitors were in place to detect particulates and have been “running continuously” since then. Particulates or particles smaller than 10 microns can lodge in a person’s lungs and lead to all sorts of respiratory issues, he said. A variety of handheld monitoring instruments, designed to detect different kinds of chemicals, also are being used. “We saw elevated levels around the fire itself — carbon monoxide, particulates and some volatile organic compounds — but that was in the immediate vicinity and immediately downwind of the fire,” Peronard said. The next step, he said, was ensuring the fire is out followed by a plan to clean up.
Dickinson Press

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Follow Up: Air quality monitored after oilfield supply business burns in Williston   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Preliminary analysis at the site of a fire Tuesday at an oil industry supply business showed no significant issues with air quality, an official said. Hazardous materials teams were monitoring the area after a series of explosions caused flames to shoot 500 feet in the air at Red River Supply just east of downtown Williston early Tuesday. Preliminary analysis of air quality shows “nothing of concern,” said Capt. Waylon Tomac, a member of the National Guard’s 81st Civil Support Team. “We did some air sampling and air monitoring of the air underneath the plume of smoke,” he said. “We were looking for any hazardous chemicals. We didn’t find anything that significant. What we found was soot, which you get from any fire.” Red River Supply’s website says it is a trucking and warehousing business for companies working in the oilfields. Supplying fluids used in oil drilling is listed among its services. Mike Hallesy, Williams County emergency manager, said Red River Supply provides chemicals and sand used in hydraulic fracturing, including mud, diesel fuel, caustic sodas, silica and acids. A regional hazardous response team, the state Department of Health’s Air Quality Division and the National Guard were among the personnel monitoring the 13-acre site Tuesday. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency were expected to arrive Tuesday evening to do particulate testing of the ash and soot from the fire, which was reported about 12:30 a.m.
Grand Forks Herald

Rail Crews Practice Emergency Response In Minot   view comments tweat me share on facebook
VIDEO: The possibility of a dangerous accident on the railroads of North Dakota is something that requires your local firefighters and emergency responders to be prepared for the worst. And today, BNSF brought its training equipment to Minot to work with the men and women of this area who would be first on the scene of a train accident. The company is holding a series of sessions around the state, bringing critical, life-saving information to hundreds of responders. From crude oil in tank cars to dangerous fluids used to power and lubricate the locomotives, there are many substances that can be a danger to fire fighters. And this training is designed to get them ahead of the game is they encounter an accident. (Justin Piper, BNSF Hazardous Materials Manager) "We transport hazardous materials throughout our system so this has been a large portion of what we do, really throughout our system in 28 states. There's a lot of activity right now in North Dakota because of the oil production and it's certainly very important that we get out and talk with responders about awareness and some of the response issues they may encounter, particularly with petroleum crude oil." (Dana Summers, Minot Fire Department) "Continuing education is big in hazardous materials because there's so many changes going on. They're always improving the information we can get so there's a lot of training involved with that." BNSF has held 4 other training sessions in North Dakota and will finish the series with a session in Trenton next Tuesday.
KXNet-TV ND News Network

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