Explosives Found In Williston Causing Hardship For Locals

Monday, Oct. 10, Williston police officers showed up to investigate a report of possible narcotics. What they found brought stress and additional problems to the surrounding residents for the rest of the week.

According to press releases, at about 3:54 p.m. Williston Police officer’s showed up at the apartments on the 3600 block of 7th St. W. Upon investigating, they found an estimated 1,471 lbs. of explosive items in one of the occupied apartments. They evacuated the building where the items were found out of precaution. At that point, the Minot Bomb Squad was called in to assist Williston’s officers. The next day, part of the neighboring building was also evacuated for the safety of the occupants. The Bismarck Bomb Squad had also been called in and 32nd Ave. was closed from 11th St. W. to 26th St. W. to ensure the public would be safe during the transport of the explosives to a place where they could be detonated. By 6:40 p.m. the bomb squads had stopped their work due to the dwindling light, intending to return the following day to continue safely detonating the explosives. The Williston Fire Department had sent some officers to remain on the scene for safety and assistance and all the roadways that were closed for the transport of the explosives were temporarily reopened. On Oct. 12, the roads were closed again, as well as 26th St. between 44th Ave. and Harvest Hills Ave. during the detonations. They began to use the Williston City Landfill to detonate items, as well. At close to 4 p.m., the bomb squads had to stop detonating the devices at the location off 26th St. due to the high winds and the roads that were closed in that area had been reopened. The explosives were still being safely detonated at the landfill by the bomb squads. Just as with the previous day, operations were halted with the fire department on duty overnight. On Oct. 13 the Williams County Emergency Manager asked for the North Dakota National Guard’s Civil Support Team to help as well. The Civil Support Team can analyze solids, powders, pastes, gels, and liquids. They also have a mobile analytical laboratory system to identify any biological, chemical, or toxin compounds. The Fargo Bomb Squad has been called to assist as well.

As of 1 p.m., Oct. 14, the original scene was still being investigated and it was still deemed unsafe for the surrounding residents to return to their homes. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Ross Michael Petrie was taken into custody as a suspect. Charges are pending with the Williams County State Attorney’s Office.


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