Two men have died following a workover rig explosion that occurred south of Williston Wednesday afternoon.
McKenzie County Sheriff Ron Rankin said that at 5:38 p.m. Wednesday, a 9-1-1 call came through about an explosion at a site located about three-quarters of a mile off of Highway 85, on County Road 4, in the northern part of the county.
"We don't know exactly what happened," Rankin said. "It was reported to us that the well had a blow out, and that's when oil started shooting up in the air. After the blow out, there was an explosion and fire."
According to Rankin, Brendan Wegner, 21, of Montello, Wis., was pronounced dead at the scene. Ray Hardy, of Mohall, Doug Hysjulien, of Williston, and Michael Tuinn, of Tioga, also suffered burns and were initially taken to Mercy Hospital in Williston. They were then flown to a burn center in St. Paul, Minn. Hardy died there Thursday morning, Rankin said.
Rankin said that to the best of his knowledge, Hysjulien and Tuinn were still in St. Paul, as of Thursday afternoon.
The site where the explosion occurred is owned by Oasis Petroleum North America, a Houston, Texas, based company. Carlson Well Service, of Powers Lake, owned and operated the rig, Rankin said. A man who was affiliated with Oasis was also present at the workover rig at the time of the explosion, but he was not injured, Rankin said.
Rankin said he believes that the accident was "industrial," and that the McKenzie County Sheriff's Office would not be investigating.
"It seems like an industrial accident, but that would be up to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the fire marshal to determine," he said. "It's out of our expertise."
OSHA has been notified of the accident.
Rankin said that oil exploration is plentiful in northern McKenzie County, although "in fact the whole county is covered with them."