Northwest North Dakota Industrial Fire Costs Owner $12.7M

December 22, 2014

The fire at an oil field supply company in northwest North Dakota in July has cost the owner $12.7 million.

The Williston Herald reports insurance didn’t cover the incident at Williston’s Red River Supply facility, which stored dozens of chemicals used by oil companies. Fire officials ruled the blaze an accident.

Officials say an open flame caused plastic sheeting that employees were using to smolder, which led to the ignition of other materials. An employee told authorities he used a propane torch as part of his job.

Company president Rich Vestal says the facility’s $400,000 annual insurance policy didn’t cover the accident. Vestal says he believed the policy included an errors and omissions clause to cover incidents not expressly mentioned in the coverage. But Vestal’s agent switched carriers, and that clause didn’t carry over.

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