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Fargo, ND Natural Gas Explosion, June 1960

3 KILLED, 8 INJURED IN FARGO EXPLOSION.

MEN PREPARING BUILDING FOR NATURAL GAS.

CAUSE OF EXPLOSION NOT CERTAIN; ALL EMPLOYED BY NORTHERN STATES POWER.

Fargo -- Three men were killed and eight others were injured about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in an explosion in a Northern States Power Co. building in Fargo.
The dead were:
SAMUEL G. ROTT, 54, of Fargo.
AUGUST NEYSSEN, 50, of Hatton, N.D.
ROBERT LaPASH, 36, of Moorhead.
Some of the injured were in serious condition last night.
Northern States officials had not determined as of midnight whether the explosion was from gas, coal dust or some other agent.
The injured were:
PETER M. RONNING, 52, Route 1, Fargo, condition fair.
JAMES GRANDBOISE, 37, Red Lake Falls, Minn., condition serious.
DALE HOLM, 41, Detroit Lakes, condition serious.
RONALD NOTCH, 21, St. Cloud, Minn., condition fair.
ERNEST FORNESS, 44, Moorhead, fractured ribs and shock, condition fair.
ALLAN TIERNEY, 34, Turtle Lake, N.D., back injuries and possible internal injuries, condition fair.
RAYMOND H. SEVERSON, 37, of Moorhead, condition serious.
HENRY ZIGAN, 28, St. Paul, fractured ankle, condition satisfactory.
CHARLES COUTTS of Minneapolis, NSP safety director, arrived here late in the evening to direct an investigation.
The dead and injured all had been employed Tuesday by NSP as part of crews which are preparing NSP's manufactured gas system in Fargo-Moorhead for natural gas, according to Ralph Holmberg of St. Paul, who arrived here Tuesday to oversee the start of the conversion work.
Ten were welders and pipe fitters, and one was a carpenter.
The explosion occurred when one of the 11 men in the concrete building cut into a ventilating pipe with a torch.

Continued on Page 2.

Comments

1960 NPS Explosion

My father is Raymond Severson who was injured in this explosion. He had internal injuries and lost the toe next to his big toe when it was crushed as he was thrown from the blast. The scar on his belly looks like a big frown and goes from one side to the other. Later in life he had heart by-pass surgery and now with the scar down his sternum added it looks like a giant peace sign. He is 90 years old now and is doing well.

Pete Ronning passed in 2008 after making it to age of 100. The only other name I recognized from this story was Ernie Forness. They were both good friends of my father.

Thank you for posting this story.



article | by Dr. Radut