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ND Oil Field Death Might Have Been Prevented

February 17, 2012, 7:01 AM

BISMARCK, ND - North Dakota's chief boiler inspector says a recent death in the western oil patch might have been prevented.

Thirty-eight-year-old Richard Ries of Salem, S.D., died Jan. 27 in a boiler explosion near Keene. Chief boiler inspector Robert Reetz with the state Insurance Department says it will be impossible to determine exactly what happened, but investigators have determined some contributing factors such as boiler valves with excessive wear.

A rig manager declined comment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into Ries' death.

His widow, Cathy, says she thinks the oil patch is too dangerous. She says her husband had planned to work there for just two years to make some extra money. She says family is helping her and the couple's two junior high-age children.

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