Black smoke and flames are visible at the site of a saltwater tank explosion in Watford City Thursday afternoon. No one was injured and the cause of the explosion is under investigation.

No one was hurt Thursday when a tank at a saltwater disposal site in Watford City exploded.

The explosion happened around 12:15 p.m., according to Karolin Jappe, McKenzie County emergency manager. The tanks are where saltwater used in hydraulic fracturing is processed. In the tanks, water, oil and gas are separated from each other.

Something in one of the tanks exploded, Jappe said, but it wasn’t clear Thursday afternoon why.

“We’re not sure what happened yet,” she said.

The fire was still burning Thursday afternoon, hours after the explosion happened. Because of the extensive damage to the tanks and the fact nothing nearby was in danger, the Watford City Fire Department planned to allow the fire to burn itself out, Jappe said.

She said they chose not to fight the blaze because of the damage the saltwater used in fracking can cause to the soil if it were to be spread around when putting out the flames.

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