Wednesday, April 24, 2013

 

Fuel barges explode, catch fire in Mobile, Ala.

Fuel barges exploded Wednesday night on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala., and were burning. Three people have been injured and have been hospitalized.
 
MOBILE, Ala. — Firefighters from Mobile, Ala., and U.S. Coast Guard crews responded Wednesday night to four explosions and a fire on fuel barges in the Mobile River.
Officials were responding to two explosions and a fire at natural gas barges when a third explosion occurred, Mobile Fire and Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said. It was not immediately clear if the third explosion was on one of the barges that were already engulfed in flames.
A fourth explosion was reported just before 10 p.m. CDT.
Three people were hospitalized with burns and information on their conditions was not immediately available.
Fire officials said they planned to let the barges burn into the night because the situation was too unstable.
The explosions happened in an area of the river east of downtown Mobile, Huffman said. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Ofc. Carlos Vega said the blast happened in a ship channel near the George C. Wallace Tunnel — which carries traffic from Interstate 10 under the Mobile River.
The explosions rattled the windows of houses in downtown, blew doors open in the Spanish Fort area and aftershocks were reported in Bay Minette and Fort Morgan, according to the Mobile Press-Register. Video from WALA-TV shows flames engulfing a large section of the barge.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, Vega said.
Mobile councilman William Carroll told AL.com that the explosions were caused by a static charge.
The explosion comes two months after a Carnival cruise ship was towed to Mobile after becoming disabled during a February cruise by an engine room fire. The ship is still undergoing repairs there. It was evacuated after the blasts Wednesday night.

Explosions on barges in river near Mobile, Alabama, force evacuations

MOBILE, Alabama - Explosions on two barges in the Mobile River off the city's shore on Wednesday injured three people and rattled windows miles away, fire officials said.
The explosions and resulting fire forced authorities to evacuate nearby shipyards, the Mobile Fire and Rescue Department said on its Twitter page.
Mobile Fire Chief Steve Dean said that for safety reasons firefighters were keeping a distance from the barges, which had already been the source of multiple explosions.
"Everybody is just monitoring the situation right now," he told reporters.
The three injured people were transported to a hospital, Mobile Fire and Rescue said on Twitter.
WALA-TV, the Fox affiliate in Mobile, reported the three people were listed in critical condition.
The station said the barge explosions and fires occurred near where Carnival Corp's Triumph cruise ship was moored. The Triumph made headlines in February when an engine fire left the ship and its 4,000 passengers adrift in the Gulf of Mexico, until they were towed back to land.

Barges explode near Australian shipyard in Alabama

At least two fuel barges have exploded on Alabama's Mobile River near an Australian-owned shipyard, injuring three people.
 
The Mobile fire and rescue department said on its Twitter feed that two barges carrying natural gas exploded on the east side of the river.

The department says there have been four subsequent explosions and it plans to let the barges burn because the situation is "too unstable".

Parts of Austal, an Australian-owned shipyard on the Mobile river, have been evacuated.

Austal is a defence shipyard which fabricates boats for the US Navy.
One of Austal's primary facilities is a defence shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
 
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