WEST COTE BLANCHE, La. (TheBlaze/AP) — Coast Guard officials say they are investigating a fire at an oil drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana.
KHOU reported that two are dead, but the Associated Press reported that no one is thought to be dead from the incident. Two are reported missing and four injured as a result of Friday’s fire though. Those injured were air-lifted to a nearby hospital.
Taslin Alfonzo, spokeswoman for West Jefferson Medical Center in suburban New Orleans, said four injured workers were brought to the hospital in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns over much of their bodies.
Jefferson Parish, La., officials says the rig is not drilling at a deepwater site like the Macondo well that blew out in 2010. That blowout led to an explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts tells WWL-TV that the platform, owned by Houston-basted Black Elk Energy, is a shallow water platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It is near West Cote Blanche Bay, south of New Iberia on the south-central Louisiana coast.
The Coast Guard says it has activated a command center to investigate the fire. KHOU reported that the rig is no longer on fire.
Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski told a news conference in New Orleans the well was not producing at the time and no oil was leaking. A small amount of oil spilled from the rig when workers using a torch cut into a 75-foot-long, 3-inch-wide line on the platform. Cubanski said a sheen one-half mile long and 200 yards wide was reported in the area.
“It’s not going to be an uncontrolled discharge from everything we’re getting right now,” Cubanski said.
Cubanski said the platform appeared to be structurally sound. After the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, that rig burned for about 36 hours before suffering structural collapse and sinking to the Gulf floor.
The Black Elk platform is in 56 feet of water. Cubanski said 28 gallons of oil were in the broken line.
The Coast Guard got the call about the fire at 8:42 a.m. CST.
A federal official in Washington said a team of environmental enforcement inspectors was flying to the scene.
This is a developing story. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
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