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Judge: Dickinson industrial park explosion dispute will be settled

Press File Photo Debris covers the site of a propane explosion that rocked Dickinson Jan. 15, 2010, in Dickinson's west industrial park.

The ripples from a January 2010 explosion in Dickinson are still being felt in Southwest District Court.

The explosion was caused when a propane tank on one of two hot oil trucks owned by B&B leaked and ignited from faulty wiring in a light fixture, according to the fire marshal's report.

The dispute is over which insurance agency was paying for which portion of claims and third-party suits resulting from the Jan. 15, 2010, explosion in Dickinson's west industrial park.

In a dispute over insurance and which agency should foot the bill for legal fees and damages, nothing was decided by outgoing Judge H. Patrick Weir, but he did guarantee Tuesday at the hearing at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson that the matter would be settled before his term was up at the end of the year.

Because all parties weren't present or even mentioned in the case, attorney Randall Bakke, Smith Bakke law firm, retained by Steve Forester and Debra Krebs, suggested the proceedings be postponed until St. Paul Traveler's Insurance, National Indemnity Insurance and Acuity Insurance could represent their sides.

The main suit, James Vault and Precast Co., et al. vs. B&B Hot Oil Service Inc., et al., was paid for by B & B's insurance policy, Bakke said. Krebs and Forester were named as defendants in the suit against B&B filed Oct. 5, 2010.

Secondary policies were taken out through National Indemnity and Acuity, but Traveler's was the main policy on the business, Bakke said.

There were no injuries in the early-morning explosion that was felt by people in residential areas.

"I was hanging off the ceiling at 4:27 in the morning going, 'What in the hell,' and then it was all quiet," nearby resident Richard Jordan told The Press at the time of the explosion. "I honestly thought that a motor or some part of a plane fell on the roof right above the bedroom area, it sounded that intense."

Krebs and Forester did have a policy on the building, but it did not cover the full appraised value of the property, Bakke said.

Attorney Nicholas Grant, Ebeltoft and Sickler, retained for B&B by Traveler's, argued a clause in the lease exempted Traveler's from covering third party suits from the explosion.

Many of those affected in the area have filed suit to cover the cost of repairs needed for damage caused by the explosion, Bakke said.

The matter will be decided at a yet-to-be-determined date, Weir said.

Krebs had been renting space to B&B, Forester was co-owner of the building and had valuables parked inside the other half, Bakke said.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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