PARADIS -- Two people were injured, one of whom was airlifted to the burn center in Baton Rouge and another person was missing after an explosion that resulted in a major fire at the Phillips 66 pipeline in Paradis Thursday night.
The incident happened around at 7 p.m. at a valve on the pipeline, which extends for a miles. There were six people working near the pipeline at the time of the explosion, according to Sheriff Greg Champagne. One of those workers was still unaccounted for as of 7 a.m. Three of the workers had minor injuries and two suffered burns, one of the victims had severe burns and had to be airlifted to Baton Rouge for treatment.
A search was continuing Thursday night for the missing man.
Among the local departments responding to the incident were: Louisiana State Police, the Department of Environmental Quality, St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office.
Highway 90 and 631 in the Paradis area were shut down for several hours, but later re-opened.
Champagne said that while the source of the natural gas liquid feeding the line was shut off, the pipeline extends for several miles so the fire could last for another few hours or days.
"The pipeline rep indicated that it has been shut off," said Champagne. "The problem is it's high pressure and it extends for miles so it could continue to burn for hours or days."
About 60 homes in the immediate vicinity of the fire were evacuated and a shelter was set up for evacuees at the Edward Dufresne Community Center in Luling. One family that showed up said that they heard a 'boom' but didn't initially think much of it.
"The kids were making a lot of noise," said Louise, who was at the shelter with family. "My daughter said, 'Did you hear that? It sounded like a boom." Louise said the family went to the door and and saw a big fire.
A spokesman for Phillips 66 sent a statement on the incident late Thursday.
"At approximately 7:30 p.m. a fire occurred at the Phillips 66-operated Paradis Pipeline Station, located 30 minutes west of New Orleans. Local and state emergency response agencies are responding to the incident. The pipeline has been blocked in and the remaining product in the line continues to burn. Our first priority is ensuring the safety of our workers, responders and the community. Phillips 66 is in the process of accounting for all employees and contractors who were working at the site at the time."