MOBILE, Ala. (AP) – 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.
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.