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Health department releases cause of oil-related death

BISMARCK - The 19-year-old man who died at a well pad in April succumbed to cardiac arrhythmia, according to a North Dakota Department of Health a forensic report.

Zachary Buckles, who worked for a company subcontracting with Continental Resources, was found unresponsive on April 28 at a well approximately 10 miles south of Williston, according to the report. He was walking across a catwalk near tanks of petroleum when he collapsed. He died at the scene.

Initial reports indicated Buckles had been testing gauges on the oil tank when he was overcome by hydrocarbon vapors, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Eric Brooks previously told Forum News Service. Petroleum vapor exposure was listed not as the main cause, but as a significant contributor to Buckles’ death. Other conditions included cardiac hypertrophy, coronary hypogenesis and obesity.

The report did not list Buckles’ residency.

Brooks said this was the fourth oil-related death since Oct. 1.

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.   
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