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Officials investigating oil rig fire near Watford City

By Amy Dalrymple

WATFORD CITY – Inspectors are investigating an oil drilling rig fire that occurred near here Tuesday afternoon that resulted in one worker’s injury, officials said Wednesday.

Authorities responded to a report of a rig explosion at 4:16 p.m. Tuesday at a Nabors Drilling rig on a Whiting Petroleum location, the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said.

When responders arrived, all workers were clear from the area and one man, identified as Brian Busby, suffered burns to his hands and head that were not life-threatening, the sheriff’s office said. Busby was transported to the McKenzie County Hospital in Watford City for treatment.

As the fire died down in intensity, fire crews were able to apply foam to the fire to put it out. The initial cause of the fire is believed to be a pressure build-up that caused material to escape and ignite, the sheriff’s office said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is sending a team to investigate the incident, said Eric Brooks, area director for the Bismarck office.

The Department of Mineral Resources also has an inspector visiting the site today, which is about 17 miles northeast of Watford City, said spokeswoman Alison Ritter.

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