North Dakota Archives:

WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA (BNO NEWS) — The death toll after Wednesday’s oil rig explosion in North Dakota has risen to two while two others remain hospitalized, local media reported Friday.

The oil well, which is operated by Oasis Petroleum of Texas, exploded on Wednesday in the town of Williston, located in North Dakota’s McKenzie County. County Sheriff Ron Rankin told the Bismarck Tribune that a second person has died.

The second fatal victim was identified as Ray Hardy, of Mohall, who succumbed to his wound on Thursday after being airlifted from Mercy Medical Center in Williston to Region’s Hospital Burn Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Brendan Wegner, 21, of Montello, Wisconsin, was previously killed at the scene of the explosion as rescue workers arrived and found his burnt body at the scene. Two others who remain hospitalized – Doug Hysjulien, of Williston, and Michael Twinn, of Tioga – were reported in critical condition in St. Paul’s burn center.

Emergency operations were stalled due to construction on Highway 85, forcing company personnel to transport the three initial survivors by car to Williston ambulances which had responded to the incident.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into the accident, as oil rig deaths have been increasing with seven deaths in the past year.

OSHA area manager Tim Deutscher told the media outlet that one of the first questions authorities look into is whether the victims were wearing fire retardant clothing, as not all companies have shown adequate responsibility in assessing fire risk, failing to require the proper clothing at job sites.

Oasis Petroleum of Texas chief operating officer Taylor Reid is cooperating with the on-site probe by OSHA officials, as authorities continue to investigate the reason of the incident.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info:

WASHINGTON D.C. (BNO NEWS) – President Barack Obama declared on Wednesday that a major disaster exists in the State of North Dakota.

A severe winter storm struck several areas of North Dakota from April 1-3, affecting Adams, Benson, Burleigh, Grant, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, Sioux, and Wells Counties and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Federal aid will be available to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area. The State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities will have federal funding available.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and Tribes within the State.

Federal Emergency Management Agency said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

(Copyright 2010 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without explicit prior permission from BNO News B.V. Contact for more information about subscriptions.)

FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA (BNO NEWS) – The North Dakota National Guard will mobilize soldiers and airmen to begin flood operations for seven of the state’s southeastern counties, the American Forces Press Service informed on Monday.

The National Weather Service (NWS) continues to issue flood warnings about rises along the Red River. The timing and heights of the flood crests are uncertain due to the affects of icing along some parts of the river. The latest report said that the stage was 25.1 feet. The Red River is expected to crest three feet below last year’s record crest by March 20.

The Guardsmen will work 12-hour shifts and will conduct a variety of flood-related missions, including traffic control, logistical and supply support, sandbagging and creating rows of barriers. They will serve in Steele, Traill, Barnes, Cass, Ransom, Sargent and Richland counties.

“Some 300 to 400 Guardsmen will be mobilized with boots on the ground by tomorrow,” said Air Force Col. Ronald Solberg, the North Dakota National Guard’s emergency operations commander for Region 4.

The NWS advised not to travel through flooded areas to avoid drowning as well as to contact local law enforcement to report flooding levels and anything related.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: