Science & Health
6:52 am
Fri August 15, 2014

NTSB Issues Report on 2013 Mobile Barge Fire

Federal investigators say a 2013 barge fire in Mobile is linked to the facility failing to isolate tank-cleaning operations from potential sources of ignition.

Fire burns aboard two fuel barges along the Mobile River after explosions sent three workers to the hospital Wednesday April 24, 2013.  (AP Photo John David Mercer)
Fire burns aboard two fuel barges along the Mobile River after explosions sent three workers to the hospital Wednesday April 24, 2013. (AP Photo John David Mercer)

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said in a report that Oil Recovery Company workers were stripping two barges of residual gasoline on April 24, 2013. Investigators say the barges vented flammable vapors during the cleaning process.

A third vessel later pulled up near the two that had been cleaned and vapors entered the third vessel's air intakes. The intakes were connected to a diesel engine and investigators say the source of ignition is unclear.

Three people were seriously burned in the fire. Officials say the blaze and explosions caused $5.7 million in damage and caused 30 gallons of fuel to leak into the Mobile River.