Four explosions struck fuel barges carrying natural gas in the Mobile River in Alabama on Wednesday. Officials planned to let the barges burn because of the instability of the situation.
AP Photo/AL.com, Bill Starling
Officials were responding to two explosions and a fire at natural gas barges when a third explosion occurred, Mobile Fire and Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said. It was not immediately clear if the third explosion was on one of the barges that were already engulfed in flames.
A fourth explosion was reported just before 10 p.m. CDT.
Three people were hospitalized with burns and information on their conditions was not immediately available.
Fire officials said they planned to let the barges burn into the night because the situation was too unstable.
The explosions happened in an area of the river east of downtown Mobile, Huffman said. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Ofc. Carlos Vega said the blast happened in a ship channel near the George C. Wallace Tunnel — which carries traffic from Interstate 10 under the Mobile River.
The explosions rattled the windows of houses in downtown, blew doors open in the Spanish Fort area and aftershocks were reported in Bay Minette and Fort Morgan, according to the Mobile Press-Register. Video from WALA-TV (http://bit.ly/15NEYJl) shows flames engulfing a large section of the barge.