Barge fire 'virtually extinguished'

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 15 at 1:43 PM

WWLTV.com
Email: webteam@wwltv.com | Twitter: @WWLTV

LAFITTE, La. - The pipeline fire that has burned in Bayou Perot since a tug boat pushing a barge struck it on Tuesday is "virtually extinguished," according to Coast Guard Captain Jonathan Burton.

The fire was located about 30 miles from New Orleans and the flames and smoke had been visible for miles for several days.

Coast Guard officials said the huge fire was sparked when a Settoon tug boat pushing the barge hit a liquified petroleum gas pipeline in the shallow waters of the marsh on Tuesday.

The barge was carrying 2,200 barrels of crude oil, officials said.

Residents in nearby Lafitte are getting worried about their air quality.

As the liquid petroleum gas still inside the pipeline continues to dwindle, the size, color and amount of smoke will fluctuate, according to the Coast Guard.

Since Tuesday, the wind had come in from the north, which was good for residents in populated areas like Lafitte.

On Friday, the winds shifted.

"It in fact has started to change, and we are starting to get reports into our eyewitness pollution map as of this morning that people are smelling a very horrible chemical smell and are having some associated respiratory issues because of it," said Anna Hrybyk of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

The Bucket Brigade met with the Coast Guard to share their findings.

The Coast Guard said there is constant air monitoring going on at the site.

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