Federal agencies are investigating a natural gas pipeline explosion that started a towering blaze in a lake southeast of New Orleans. The line exploded shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday in Lake Lery and the fire was out by about 4:45 p.m. Friday, the Coast Guard said.
Preliminary information indicates a barge broke loose from its mooring and hit the pipeline, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
“The pipeline has been shut down and the affected section of pipe has been isolated. Remaining gas will be allowed to burn off,” said a statement from the agency, part of the Department of Transportation.
Nobody was hurt by the rupture and fire, the Coast Guard said in a news release Thursday night. There was a silver sheen Friday on the water between St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, Coast Guard spokesperson Riley Perkofski said in an email. It is expected to dissipate, the Coast Guard said Friday evening.
Continuous monitoring by Environmental Safety & Health Consulting Services didn’t find any air pollution, a news release said.
The pipeline is owned by Third Coast High Point Gas Transmission, Perkofski wrote. Third Coast, which is based in Houston, did not return a call for comment.