Coast Guard: Pipeline fire near Bayou Perot now "virtually extinguished"

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 15 at 5:21 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

LAFITTE, La.-- A pipeline fire burning near Bayou Perot, 30 miles south of New Orleans, is now virtually out, according to the Coast Guard. The fire began on Tuesday after a barge allided with a gas pipeline.

On Friday, Sheena Lewis and her family noticed the smoky skies the second they stepped out of their home in Lafitte.

"When we walk out of our house, all you see is a big, huge cloud of smoke," she said. "I was worried about it this morning, just looking at it. It's just a really huge puff of smoke that looks like it's just sitting there."

The Coast Guard said while the fire is now out, there is still minimal ongoing flaring to get rid of the final amounts of liquid petroleum gas in the pipeline.

"At this time, we have no evidence of any substantial pollution of any kind," said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jonathan Burton. "Still seeing some smoke obviously from the residual from the fire, but other than that, the fire is currently out."

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade said it received complaints from Lafitte about the air quality, as winds shifted.
The environmental watchdog group sent a rapid response team to the area, to see what effects residents were seeing.

"Our concern of course was obviously the wind direction and which population centers and which communities would be impacted by that waft of smoke," said Anna Hrybyk of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.

The Coast Guard said monitoring did not detect problems with air quality.

"We had monitors throughout the area, in the Lafitte area, along the beaches, and out on boats as well, to make sure there were no issues with air quality," Capt. Burton said.

The Coast Guard is now investigating what led to the barge and pipeline accident. They said no oil was released from the barge, which has now been removed from the scene of the fire.

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