A huge fire that began Tuesday night as a tug pushing a barge in a remote Louisiana bayou struck a liquefied natural gas pipeline in shallow water could keep burning until Thursday or later. Four people were injured in the accident; three were treated and released, while one was taken to a Baton Rouge burn unit in critical condition.
Pipeline owner Chevron had shut off gas flow to the area, but the remaining gas in the 19-mile section of pipeline could keep the fire going for another day or more, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Chevron began injecting nitrogen gas into the pipeline Wednesday hoping to extinguish the fire, but a Coast Guard official said it was unclear how soon it might begin working.
The Coast Guard was spraying down the barge Wednesday to keep it cool and hopefully prevent the 92,000-gallon crude oil cargo from catching fire. The barge remained intact and there were no apparent leaks of oil, but protective boom was deployed and oil skimmers dispatched as a precautionary measure.
Smoke from the blaze could be seen from as far away as New Orleans, 30 miles away. The cause of the accident in Bayou Perot had not yet been determined but was under investigation.
The Jones Act attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent workers injured in maritime accidents.