Thursday, 25 April 2013

Several explosions rock Alabama's Mobile River after 2 fuel barges catch fire

Several explosions rock Alabama's Mobile River after 2 fuel barges catch fire, Firefighters from Mobile, Ala., and U.S. Coast Guard crews were responding Wednesday night to several explosions and a fire on two fuel barges in the Mobile River.

Mobile Fire and Rescue officials said that two barges previously loaded with liquid natural gas exploded and that three people were hospitalized with burn-related injuries, FOX 10-TV reported.

View slideshow: Aerial view of large fire burning on two barges Wednesday night on the Mobile River (April 24, 2013)
The injured were transported to the University of South Alabama Medical Center in critical condition, said Bob Lowery with USA Medical.

The Coast Guard received the initial notification at 8:40 p.m. CDT Wednesday of a barge explosion between the George Wallace Tunnel and the Bankhead Tunnel in the Mobile River.

Since then, a series of four more large explosions had been reported as of 10:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday. The barges were at the dock for cleaning.

The barges reportedly contained multiple compartments to transport natural gas, with two compartments containing 2,000 gallons of gas.

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said Mobile Fire-Rescue will let the fire burn out on its own to prevent further injuries from the possibility of additional explosions.

Video showed flames engulfing a large section of one of the barges. The barges were burning on the east side of the river.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear and is under investigation.

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