LAFITTE, La. -- The U.S. Coast Guard will not try to extinguish the large barge and pipeline fire that severely burned a man and put him in critical condition Tuesday night.
Officials say the water is too shallow and the fire is too intense to put out. The depth of the water at the scene is 1 to 2 feet deep, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard says it's unclear how long it will take the fire to burn out.
The incident happened in Bayou Perot near the 4900 block of Kenal Road.
All four people on the vessel are accounted for, but one person was severely burned. He is being treated at the West Jefferson Medical Center.
Officials with West Jeff say the man suffered burns to over 75 percent of his body. He was being treated in the emergency room and will be transferred to the Baton Rouge General Burn Facility. He is in critical condition.
A second passenger on the tug boat hurt his side when he was knocked off the boat.
“You can see it from quite a ways away. This is about two miles south of what is considered to be lower Lafitte, from the C&M Marina, and this would be in Bayou Barataria and Bayou Perot is where this is located. So just to the west here would be Lafourche Parish,” said Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts. “The good thing is that from what we know right now, the four are accounted for, and the next effort is getting the fire contained.”
Coast Guard officials say there is currently crude oil in the water, though the amount is unknown. The tug boat was attached to a barge carrying 2,215 barrels of crude oil.
Officials believe the vessel may have hit a natural gas wellhead, but the official cause is still unknown.
There are no dwellings or facilities near the fire.
The Jefferson Parish Fire Department has equipment that can reach the blaze and is attempting to put it out.
Scott Satchfield is on the scene and will have more on this breaking news during our 10 p.m. newscast.