Flames can be seen from blaze that erupted after a tugboat pushing an oil barge struck a gas pipeline in a bayou south of New Orleans Tuesday night, March 12, 2013. / WWL-TV/CBS
LAFITTE, La. - A tugboat pushing an oil barge struck a gas pipeline in a bayou south of New Orleans on Tuesday night, igniting a blaze that burned for hours and left two people injured, one critically.
Ensign Tanner Stiehl told The Associated Press the collision occurred at about 6 p.m. Central time on Bayou Perot, in a marshy area near where Lafourche and Jefferson parishes meet, about 30 miles south of New Orleans.
The tugboat and barge were engulfed in flames, and heavy smoke billowed from the scene.
CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV reported that all four people on the vessel were accounted for, but that one person was critically burned and was treated at West Jefferson Medical Center. The station reported the person was transferred to the burn center at Baton Rouge General Hospital.
Stiehl said the pipeline is owned by San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron.
WWL says the barge was carrying 2,215 barrels of crude oil.
He said the company has isolated the pipeline from other mains "so only whatever was in the pipeline will be able to burn."
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, who represents the area, told WWL-TV the fire was in very shallow water, as little as a foot deep, and that authorities wouldn't approach the site until the fire had burned itself out. Officials told the station the water is too shallow and the fire too intense to attempt to extinguish it