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Blaze erupts on La. waterway after pipeline struck

Wednesday - 3/13/2013, 7:36am  ET

LAFITTE, La. (AP) -- A tug boat and barge collided with a gas pipeline in a bayou south of New Orleans on Tuesday night, igniting a blaze that burned for hours and that left four people injured, one severely.

Ensign Tanner Stiehl told The Associated Press late Tuesday that the collision occurred at about 6 p.m. Central on Bayou Perot, about 30 miles south of New Orleans.

Stiehl said the pipeline is owned by Chevron. It was in shallow water and had liquid petroleum gas in it.

He said the company has isolated the pipeline from other mains, "so only whatever was in the pipeline will be able to burn."

The barge was carrying oil, but it was unclear how much or who owns it.

Stiehl said four people were able to exit the tug boat, which he identified as the Shanon E. Settoon. Settoon Towing of Pierre Part, La., lists the tug boat among its vessels on its website.

WWL-TV reported that all four people on the vessel were accounted for, but that one person was severely burned and was being treated at West Jefferson Medical Center.

Stiehl said no one lives near the site of the fire and explosion, so no evacuations were ordered.

The Coast Guard and local authorities are responding to the fire.

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