Bayou Pipeline Fire Blazes On

Struck by a tugboat

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A fire continues to rage in Louisiana after a tugboat pushing an oil barge struck a liquefied natural gas pipeline in shallow Bayou Perot on Tuesday night. Four people were injured in the crash, one critically, but no oil had spilled as of Wednesday.

Captain Jonathan Burton of the Coast Guard said at a news conference that a protective boom was still being deployed as a precaution. Oil skimmers have also been dispatched to the area. “We’re not waiting for something to happen,” he said.

Chevron, the owner of the pipeline, cut off the flow of gas, but the 19-mile section affected by the crash is expected to continue burning for some time. The gas giant has reportedly begun an operation to inject nitrogen gas into the pipeline to help extinguish the blaze, but it is unclear whether that will have any effect at all.

An investigation is underway to determine how the tugboat struck the pipeline, and what it was doing navigating water that the Coast Guard estimated to be just two to three feet deep.

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