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Press Editorial: Incident a loud, scary reminder of dangers

Let's be glad that the dust (and hopefully nerves of those who heard the explosion in West Industrial Park last Friday) has settled.

Cleanup has begun and the houses have settled and nails are done popping out of the walls.

Propane leaked from an unknown source on two hot oil trucks belonging to B & B Hot Oil Services, which were parked inside a building in the park.

A fire, of which the ignition source is unknown, started in the building and the magnificent explosion occurred just after 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 15.

Dickinson Rural Fire Department members deserve a tip of the hat for their response to the situation and for staying on the scene on a not-so-warm North Dakota January morning. (Thanks to Baker Boy for providing them with warm gooey sweet rolls.)

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blowup. The time at which it occurred had a lot to do with that.

Unfortunately, it's incidents such as this which are reminders to those who use chemicals and gases like propane that they must know what they are doing and how to store and handle it. Not just propane, any chemical or gas -- the stickers on gas station pumps warning against cell phone use and the dangers of static are there for a reason.

We may not think we will cause an inferno, but clearly this can happen from a lack of caution. Despite our best efforts, accidents do happen and no one is to blame.

The power of propane is amazing. Thick steel beams lie twisted among piles of rubble. A semi looks as if it was chewed up and spit out. Nearby buildings had walls shaken loose and insulation was blown across fields.

More than a dozen residents called the 911 center after the Friday incident and we give them credit for their quick action, along with the emergency responders.

After finding out about the explosion, residents from across town said, "Oh, so that's what that was." Hundreds heard it; some thought it was a car or train accident, others a bomb.

Some woke to find knick-knacks rocked off shelves, busted windows and other general damage.

Insurance agents have begun to make assessments and claims for those with property damage. Some homeowners will be paying deductibles and for other repairs they didn't plan on.

"I just wish I could go back in time and do things a little differently," said Blane Fugere, owner of B & B Hot Oil Services.

Since none of us can, let's clean up the mess, learn from it and hope it doesn't happen again.

-- The Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss issues of importance to the community.