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Gwinner Explosion

Jan 31, 2020

On this date in 1993, Gwinner residents were supposed to watch Buffalo Bills player Phil Hansen, a native of nearby Oakes, play in the Super Bowl. Instead, they were rudely awakened at 6:30am by a loud explosion and fire. Many thought the small town of less than 700 people was under attack. Instead, the flames that shot 60 to 70 feet into the air was caused by an exploding 15,000 gallon propane tank at the Bobcat factory. A faulty panel on the tank caused propane to leak and ignite, launching the tank 150 yards away like a rocket. The explosion and flames damaged nearby houses, cars, and trees. The main power line into town was destroyed, cutting power for the entire town.

The president of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association said he’s happy Gov. Doug Burgum signed a waiver of hours of service for those who haul propane, gasoline and diesel fuel.

Mike Rud said the wet fall and late harvest is causing increased demands for propane, which is used to  help crops dry out. Rud said that demand is regional, as a number of states issued their own waivers.

"There's probably a 7-state area in the Midwest," Rud said. "Everyone's trying to get the corn and the beans off the fields at the same time, since it was such a wet fall.

Granville fined $3000 for propane violations

Sep 12, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The city of Granville will pay a $3000 fine for violations at its city owned propane plant.

Granville has the last municipally-owned propanesystem in North Dakota. It provides heat to 123 customers.

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk said inspectors found four separate violations. He said at first, PSC staff recommended a $30,000 fine – but Kalk said the city has solved the problems.

"This will put a bite on city revenues to pay this fine," Kalk said. "But you can't just suspend everything."

Kalk said there has to be accountability.