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A Boom from the Boom


The oil boom has brought more people, more houses, and more jobs to North Dakota. Many people would say the boom has been a good thing. However, as time progresses, more people are coming forward with complaints about the side effects, including workplace risks.

The death of Dustin Payne is just one of many examples. Payne was a 28-year-old former Marine from Hazel Green, Alabama. He came to North Dakota after his time overseas.

On October 6, Payne was welding a water tank when there was an explosion. An ambulance was dispatched and rushed Payne to the hospital. Unfortunately, he died five days later. It was later found that the water tank had not been cleaned of oil residue, causing the explosion. He left behind many loving friends and family, all of which had good things to say about him, such as his laugh and smile. The following week his body was flown back to Huntsville, Alabama where it was met by fellow Marines. The company was given a $70,000 fine for Payne’s death, and another $27,200 for other violations.

But amidst the tragedy, there is some light to this story. Payne left behind his family, but they were not left behind by others. Days after his death a Facebook page sprang up dedicated to his memory, including a donation page for the family. Then the Fubar, a restaurant in downtown Huntsville, waived its cover charge for one night and had all profits donated to the family.

So, while this story may remind us of many risks associated with jobs in the oil patch, it also reminds us how great people can be when others are suffering.

Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas




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