Multiple injuries in gas well fire near St. Mary Parish
MORGAN CITY, La. (WAFB) - At least seven people were injured after a natural gas well caught fire in a marshy area along the Louisiana coast on Tuesday, May 25, authorities said.
The scene is south of Patterson, La.
A blowout occurred at a well owned by Texas Petroleum Investments Company on Sunday but it ignited Tuesday.
On Sunday, crews “were attempting to plug a well and it got away from them.” They called in Wild Well Control to help with the situation and “something” happened Tuesday that ignited the gas.
St. Mary Parish President David Hanagriff said all of the victims are now on land and being treated.
He added two patients were airlifted to a hospital, two went by ambulance, and the others were taken by private vehicles to hospitals. The parish president said no fatalities were reported.
Four people were sent to burn centers in surrounding areas and four refused treatment, a spokesperson for Oschner St. Mary told KATC-TV. Our Lady of Lourdes also confirmed it was receiving patients from the incident.
Louisiana State Police (LSP) spokesman Thomas Gossen said there was an incident at the well Sunday, May 23. Workers were on the scene during the afternoon of Tuesday, May 25, making repairs when the fire broke out, Gossen said. The spokesman said there is no remaining threat to the public.
The area is only accessible by boat or plane, said St. Mary Parish Director of Emergency Preparedness David Naquin. An LSP hazardous materials team is being flown to the scene, authorities said.
“The shear heat of the fire, you’ve got natural gas coming out, which is extremely flammable. It’s about the most flammable thing there is. t=That’s why people use it for a fuel. It’s coming up and once it gets lit it is an incredible amount of heat that you’re dealing with and it’s still being constantly fueled. So, whoever is responding to this has got to do something to shield their workers and equipment from the heat, while still trying to get on that well and try to put the fire out,” said Patrick Courreges, Communications Director for the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
A spokesman for the United States Coast Guard said at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday the agency was also assisting with the incident.
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