ALEXANDER, N.D. — A noontime explosion at a saltwater disposal well site Thursday near Alexander dumped 2,440 barrels of saltwater and 270 barrels of oil and destroyed 13 storage tanks at a disposal facility owned by Mesa Oil Services.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson said the cause of the explosion was not known. Alexander is about 25 miles south of Williston, N.D.
Samuelson said a tanker driver had just unloaded at the disposal site when the treater exploded, setting fire to the adjacent storage tanks. A treater is a piece of equipment that uses heat to separate out oil.
The driver later volunteered to make a run for fresh water when the fire department’s supply ran low, then suffered an apparent heart attack when he returned to the fire location, about eight miles southwest of Alexander.
The McKenzie County ambulance service had already left the scene and had to be summoned back to care for the driver, Samuelson said.
The driver’s name and condition were not released.
He said a field inspector for the Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division was at the site shortly after the explosion.
The fire was being suppressed with foam and water.