Pipeline Fire in Louisiana, One Worker Missing

One worker was missing and two were injured after an explosion sparked a fire at a Louisiana pipeline Thursday night, officials said.

Authorities don’t yet know what caused the fire on the Phillips 66 pipeline in Paradis, but a crew of six workers was cleaning it at the time, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said at a news conference.

“It is a very high pressure fire. High intensity, I mean when you get close to it, it is singing. It is really singing and the tone changes,” said Champagne.

Two of the workers were hospitalized – one taken to a burn center- and three had minor or no injuries, the sheriff said. The remaining worker was unaccounted for, and a helicopter was being brought in to help search for him.

The pipeline was carrying a highly volatile byproduct of natural gas, which was burning cleanly and very hotly over a 30- to 40-foot area, the sheriff said. Sixty homes were evacuated and highways were being diverted around the area in Paradis, which is about 30 miles west of New Orleans.