A fire so massive that it could not be approached by firefighters erupted after an explosion at an oil waste disposal site north of Alexander, North Dakota. According to KXNews, McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karlin Rockvoy said the only thing to do at first was watch the fire burn itself out.
The explosion occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. Emergency responders from both Williston and Alexander established a perimeter around the site to ensure the safety of anyone in the area. Five employees at the facility escaped unharmed, one of whom reported jumping out of the way just in time.
Firefighters were able to get the flames under control by midmorning, though the cause of the explosion is still unknown.
The complex, which undertook the treatment and disposal of oilfield waste, was completely destroyed during the incident. According to the Bismarck Tribune, Rockvoy reported that any damage caused by the explosion was contained by a surrounding embankment.
The waste disposal site was owned by Tervita, a company which specializes in dealing with industrial waste while focusing on environmentally conscious solutions. The facility was operated by Republic Services, which recently acquired Tervita, LLC, a subsidiary of Tervita Corporation. The merger heightened Republic Services’ presence in the oil and gas waste sector.