MOBILE, Ala. — Three people were burned and critically injured after two fuel barges carrying natural gas exploded and caught fire on the east side of the Mobile River. Several media outlets reported that the blast rattled windows in houses in downtown Mobile and blew doors open in homes in Spanish Fort.
Watch Video showing the beginning of barge explosions
According to Lt. Mike Clawson, the natural gas barges exploded at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, April 24, between the Bankhead Tunnel and waterways; not near Triumph Cruise Ship. Early reports said the barges were near the Austal shipyard.
The Mobile Fire and Rescue Department said there were four separate explosions, and that the agency had firefighters in place. The situation was so unstable that fire and rescue officials decided to let the fire burn into the night. U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said the blaze had been extinguished early Thursday.
The three injured victims were taken to University of South Alabama Medical Center for burn-related injuries. According to hospital nursing administrator Danny Whatley, the three were in critical condition early Thursday.
Fox News reports:
The barges are owned by Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine, company spokesman Greg Beuerman said. He said the barges were empty and being cleaned at the Oil Recovery Co. facility when the incident began. He said the barges had been carrying a liquid called natural gasoline, which he said is neither liquefied natural gas or natural gas. He said the company has dispatched a team to work with investigators to determine what caused the fire.
The incident remains under investigation at this time.
Blog post by barge injury lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP