MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile, Alabama Fire-Rescue Department said three people are in critical condition after two barges previously loaded with liquid natural gas exploded and caught fire. Officials said units were on the scene on the east side of Mobile River.
Lt. Mike Clausen with the U.S. Coast Guard said initial reports suggest one barge exploded. Multiple explosions occurred, the first around 8:30 p.m. near Austal, which is a shipbuilding company.
The Carnival Triumph, which has been docked in Mobile since it was towed in from the Gulf of Mexico in February, was not affected. There are also two tunnels that go under the Mobile River in that area. They were not affected by the explosions.
Lt. Clausen said crews were conducting a clean operation when the explosion occurred. He said it is not known how much, if any, natural gas was on the barge at the time.
He said one-mile safety zones are in place north and south of the explosion site. He said a three-mile flight restriction has been issued by the FAA.
The general manager of Ft. Conde Inn, Alan Waugh, saw and heard the explosion when it happened.
"We were up on a second floor balcony and the sky lit up in orange and yellow. My partner was on one end of the balcony and I was on the other. And you thought it was the Carnival cruise ship first, but then you realized it was a little further from the ship. It sounded like planes above you dropping bombs when it first went off."
He said they could feel the rumble, as well as the heat, from the explosion.
Another group was checking out the scene behind a concrete wall when the second explosion happened. They said they could feel the heat coming from the area.
Mobile City Council Member William Carroll said about 30 seconds after the first explosion, his phone started ringing off the hook.
He said he had been told the explosion was sparked by static charges.
He said he hopes everyone involved is okay.
During FOX10's live interview with Carroll, another explosion occurred in the background.
"It's always frightening to have something like that happens to you or around you," Carroll said just seconds later.
Officials with Mobile Fire-Rescue said they will let the fire burn out on its own to prevent further injuries. They said, however, they don't know how long it will take.
Last week’s early-winter storm canceled school, closed roads, and put the Toys-for-Tots program in Sullivan County in unprecedented danger just weeks before Christmas.
Two dog lovers want answers tonight after they found a litter of pups freezing in Saturday's snow. It happened at the Terre Haute Humane Society. It's grim reminder of why pet owners should make cold pets a priority.
On Wednesday evening just before 6:00, Flora Assistant Police Chief Guye Durre was struck by a semi on Highway 50 and North Stanford in Flora while in his squad car.
Hoosier Lottery fans will have a shot at winnings multiple millions this week.
A Parke County accident kills one, and sends another to the hospital.
Court Documents show what led to the murder of 17 year old Devan Burris of Washington, Indiana.