LAFITTE, La., March 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard, citing shallow water and intense heat, said it won't try to extinguish a barge and pipeline fire near Lafitte, La.
Officials said they believe the vessel may have struck a natural gas wellhead Tuesday, but that the official cause remained unknown, WWL-TV, New Orleans, reported Wednesday.
The incident occurred in Bayou Perot where the water was reportedly between 1 and 2 feet deep. Coast Guard officials said they weren't sure how long it will take for the fire to burn out.
Coast Guard officials said an unknown amount of crude oil spilled in the water. The tug boat was attached to a barge carrying 2,215 barrels of crude oil.
All four people on the vessel were accounted for, officials said. One person sustained burns to more than 75 percent of his body and was listed in critical condition at a Baton Rouge burn facility, where he was transferred after receiving initial treatment, a West Jefferson Parish Fire Department official said.
"You can see it from quite a ways away," Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts said of the fire to WWL. "The good thing is that from what we know right now, the four are accounted for."
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