Barge crash causes large fire, one severely burned

Published: Mar. 13, 2013 at 2:24 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM CDT
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Source: US Coast Guard
Source: US Coast Guard
Tug boat fire (Source: WWL-TV)
Tug boat fire (Source: WWL-TV)

LAFITTE, LA (WWL-TV/WAFB) - A large fire caused by a barge and tug boat hitting a pipeline and sending one man to the hospital with severe burns Tuesday continued to burn Wednesday morning.

WWL-TV in New Orleans reported the pipeline was shut off and officials are waiting for the fire to burn out, which may take some time due to the pressurized gas in the 16-inch wide pipeline, according to the US Coast Guard. A sheen of burned crude oil appeared on the water and officials are containing it with boom to reduce pollution.

According to WWL, officials said the water is too shallow and the fire is too intense to put out. The water is reportedly only one or two feet deep. It is believed a liquefied petroleum gas pipeline was hit.

The Coast Guard said a tug boat pushing a barge carrying 2,215 barrels of crude oil may have hit a natural gas line Tuesday around 6 p.m. A large barge and pipeline fire erupted and one man was badly burned.

The incident happened on Bayou Perot, which is in a marshy area near where Lafourche and Jefferson parishes meet. It is about 30 miles south of New Orleans.

The four people on the tug were able to get off of it. The Coast Guard said the captain was severely burned. His name has not been released. He has been sent to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center. He is listed in critical condition.

He was initially being treated at the West Jefferson Medical Center. According to WWL-TV, officials with the hospital said the man suffered burns to more than 75 percent of his body. A second person was injured in the accident. He reportedly hurt his side.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved. WWL-TV contributed to this report.