West Fargo Tank Fire Still Under Investigation, Magellan Begins Cleanup

Sunday Fire prompted "shelter in place" warning

WEST FARGO, N.D. — The diesel fuel tank fire at Magellan Pipeline Company could have burned for days had the West Fargo Fire Department not been prepared or had the resources.

Luckily, they had both.

Every year, the North Dakota Pipeline Association holds a pipeline training course that all West Fargo first responders attend.

“That helped out quite a bit because the incident commander from Magellan, I knew him on a first name basis. We’ve been through these trainings before. So when he pulled up and got out and we both said ‘yep, this is a bad day. How are we going to handle it?’ we were able to get to work right away,” said Fire Chief Dan Fuller with the West Fargo Fire Department.

The training course may have made it easier to figure out a plan and work with the pipeline company, but getting all the right resources was a different story.

“That was really our biggest barrier. If we have a house fire or something in town, even if our biggest building in town burned, it wouldn’t have taken the resources that this fire took,” Fuller said.

Fuller says they were being extra cautious and preparing for the whole tank to catch on fire, meaning they’d need about 1,500 gallons of foam to extinguish the flames.

However, the West Fargo Fire Department only has a couple hundred gallons in stock.
That’s why the Fargo Fire Department, BNSF, Hector Airport’s Fire Department and the National Guard all lent a helping hand.

That’s not all. Four drones from Grand Forks were used to get a bird’s eye view of the fire.

“They just kept switching them out and that’s how we were able to get pretty much a constant view for three hours at the scene,” Fuller said.

The fire started around 5 a.m. Sunday and was put out by the early afternoon with 400,000 gallons of water and 500 gallons of foam. The cause of the tank farm fire in West Fargo is investigation.

“We’ll be out here cleaning up for sometime. We have picked up all the free standing product that was on the ground. We used vat trucks to do that,” said Tom Byers, with Magellan Pipeline Company.

Magellan resumed their pipeline service this afternoon.

They will soon begin soil remediation where the tank is located.

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