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Three injured in Alabama fuel barge explosion

25 April 2013

Late April 24 a number of explosions destroyed fuel barges on the east side of Mobile River near Mobile, Alabama, injuring three. The fuel barges were at Oil Recovery Co. of Alabama's Marine Gas Free Facility. The Coast Guard has placed a safety zone around the site, closing the ship channel and restricting overflights.

The first blast happened when a three-man cleaning crew was on site. One of the three was blown into the water by the force of the blast, but was rescued and all three are now in hospital with burns and are in a critical condition.

Barge cleaning is dangerous work because the fuel vapours in the tanks are highly flammable. According to, Mobile City Councilman William Carroll, who was at the scene, said the explosions were triggered by a static charge.

Firefighters were unable to fight the blaze because of subsequent explosions, and planned to allow the fires to burn out. 

Across the river, the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship that became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico last February before it was towed to Mobile's port, was evacuated.

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