Officials assessing environmental impact after barge fire near Galveston
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Kendrick says two tugboats were pushing a total of four barges early Monday morning near the Bolivar Peninsula when one of the boats lost power. The barge it was pushing then collided with another barge.
A fire erupted on a barge carrying about a million gallons of the petroleum product naphtha. Other barges were also carrying cumene, which is also a flammable liquid.
Crews extinguished the flames about four hours later, and there were no injuries reported. It remains unclear how much of the chemical products leaked into the waterway, however.
The glow of the fire could be seen for miles around as firefighters worked to get a handle on the blaze.
The Galveston/Bolivar ferry service was not disrupted, but the waterway from mile marker 348 to the ship channel is expected to be closed throughout day.
The Coast Guard says it first needs to assess damage to the barges and then figure out how much cargo was lost. Remaining cargo on board will then be transferred to other barges before the damaged ones can be towed away.
Three of the four barges were damaged, according to the Coast Guard.
Raw video: Barge fire near Bolivar Ferry service
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)